WITH the harvest coming to an end the farmers around Rainbow have been surprised with how well many of the cereal crops have done in an extremely dry year often yielding 2-3 bags an acre better than expected.
Grain quality has been incredibly good. There has been quite a wide variance in yields depending on rainfall received and soil types.
In the Pigick/Pella area rainfall for the year has been between 150-180 millimetres (6-7 inches), at Yaapeet about 120 millimetres (five inches) has fallen while Kenmare has seen 100 millimetres (four inches) or less.
At Ellam rainfall has been between 120- 150 millimetres (5-6 inches), while closer to Jeparit the rainfall has been a little higher.
Jeparit and areas close by have had over 200 millimetres (eight inches). Soil types have also played a big part in determining the yield of all crop types with better yields on the lighter soils.
Some cereals have yielded over two tonnes a hectare (10 bags an acre), with some crops even better, but most yields have been just over half that.
The high prices for all types of grain have cushioned the effects of the lower than normal yields. Some farmers are waiting for the last of their wheat to ripen before completing their harvest.
Legume crops have really struggled with most farmers harvesting them for not much return but like the cereals the quality has been good.
A lot of canola was cut for hay but the crops that were harvested yielded up to just over half a tonne a hectare. As well as the lack of rainfall there was frost damage to some crops.
Over they farmers are happy
Overall most farmers are happy that they will cover some of their costs of production, with the general observation being that the advances in farming practices over the last thirty years have really shown out in a dry
year like 2018.
Stubble retention and minimum tillage has prevented the bare paddocks and dustbowl conditions of low rainfall years in previous decades.
Home for Christmas
Looking on the bright side, most of the farmers who spoke to the Argus reporter said that with the early finish to harvest they would be able to spend more time with their families over Christmas and the New Year.