Global Agriculture

Promising start to 2024 for Wimmera-Mallee

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The old saying ‘never knock back a rain’ was put to the test following harvest, with repeated summer rain events keeping sprayers busy immediately behind the header.

21 February 2024, AU: Swan Hill recorded almost 100mm between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, whereas areas such as Quambatook have recorded summer rain in the vicinity of 250mm already, with some paddocks completely underwater. 

For those on top of their summer spray programs, their paddocks will have plentiful sub-soil moisture, making them optimistic about their 2024 prospects. Most growers have now completed two spray passes over the farm, with many paddocks being double knocked after harvest to control fleabane, thistles, and even late germinating ryegrass.

Seeding preparations are now in full swing with seed being treated and cleaned, fertiliser organised, and seeder maintenance being completed. Any changes to farm plans have been finalised, with clients keen to get product on farm early to avoid supply chain issues. 

For some, seeding may start as soon as late March or early April. Rotations will remain steady with wheat, barley, lentils, and vetch a key part of most programs. Area planted to canola will be supported by a strong sub-soil moisture profile, however some may be deterred by prices dropping back to the mid-600s. 

Livestock producers have benefitted greatly from the summer rains with pasture paddocks green and plentiful. Irrigated pastures will begin to be watered up, with growers looking to make the most of early feed. As a result, demand for off farm fodder has dropped off, with the movement of oaten and vetch hay slowing down both locally and inter-state.

Elsewhere in the Western Murray Valley, rice has really turned a corner in recent months after a very ordinary start. Crops are looking remarkable given the pressure faced from cold weather, wind, rain, snails, and ducks early on at establishment, with all the hard work now well worth the effort. Others have been less fortunate with some rice crops having to be turned off.

Also Read: Banana exports from India to touch US$ 1 Billion: APEDA

(For Latest Agriculture News & Updates, follow Krishak Jagat on Google News)

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