02.11.2019

Harvest kicks off!

Our harvest operations kicked off with windrowing some barley in early October. Our annual rainfall has been the lowest on record at most of the properties we farm. This ranges from 160 mm in coastal areas through to 240 mm on our home property at Maitland. This in-turn increases the risk of frost damage and we have pockets of frost through most of our crops. Overall it could have been much worse.

We have been windrowing the taller areas of our barley crop & leaving others where there isn’t enough bulk to make a row. We commenced harvesting barley a few weeks ago & so far the grain quality & crop yield has been good considering the lack of rainfall. The lentils are more moisture sensitive & they have struggled near the coast. In drier conditions the lentil crops don’t canopy over which leaves the individual plants more exposed to shaking the pods off in strong winds. Unfortunately we’ve had a couple of shocking northerly winds which have reduced the crop yields significantly.Thankfully we have finished harvesting all of the lentils in the coastal areas & we are looking forward to harvesting some slightly better crops inland.

This year we have fitted a Seed Terminator unit to one of the Claas machines. This unit has two rotating mills that are fitted underneath the rear of the machine. The unit collects the chaff & will destroy up to 98% of the weed seeds instead of spreading them back over the paddock. The heavier straw still goes through the chopper & is spread as a mulch layer back over the paddock. Our aim is to reduce our reliance on herbicides to control weeds & this is another step towards making our cropping systems more sustainable. So far the unit has been performing well with little impact on the productivity of the machine.

We had a bit of rain overnight so everyone is having the day off to catch up with their families.

This season has seen many areas in South Australia only receive around 40% of their average rainfall. This creates huge challenges and impacts rural communities across the state. Whilst we continue to be resilient its a good time to watch out for each other & support our families, friends & neighbours. Locally we have been very lucky to receive the rainfall we have & its a testament to our highly efficient farming systems that have enabled us to still produce a crop on so little rainfall.

Happy harvesting, look out for each other & stay safe.

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