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July 14th, 2018 by admin

Good potential but lodging a concern for crops in the south

Farmers are concerned at the extent of lodging damage in crops in Victoria and South Australia.SOUTHERN Australia has copped a pounding from rain over the past fortnight, but crops are generally holding up better than in NSW.
Nanjing Night Net

There are concerns about waterlogging Grain Producers Australia (GPA) chairman Andrew Weidemann said in Victoria and South Australia there was also significant concern surrounding crop lodging.

However, overall he said farmers were still hoping for an above average year production-wise to take the sting out of low grain prices.

Firstly, however, farmers need to get out into paddocks and assess the level of lodging damage.

“A lot of crop has been pushed over in some areas through the Wimmera and Mallee in Victoria and on the Eyre Peninsula in SA,” he said.

“The winds have got up and given the soil profile is so wet there has been nothing to keep the crop standing up.”

He said it was an unknown as to how much damage the lodging would cause.

“It all depends on whether the stem has kinked, stopping nutrition getting through to the grain head.”

“The best case scenario is that the yield is still there and it will just be a slow job harvesting paddocks, but if the stem is snapped then there will be yield losses.”

“It is a lot like assessing frost damage, it is difficult to say just how bad it is until you get in there.”

He said waterlogging and disease were also posing a problem and, similar to NSW, pulse crops were worst impacted.

“The lentil story is one to watch. Many lentil crops here are being smashed by botrytis grey mould (BGM) and farmers can’t do anything about it as they can’t get on paddocks, and even if they could, it is hard to get hold of pulse fungicides.”

However, he said the cereal crop was still expected to be solid.

“In terms of the cereals, things are holding on really well, the Compass variety of barley has been badly hit by lodging but other than that there are still a lot of crops with really good potential.

“We now just need a fine couple of weeks to allow things to dry out.”

Mr Weidemann said the story of frost in Western Australia was also important and had been overshadowed by the flood events on the east coast and in South Australia.

“I have been speaking to farmers over there and they believe it could well cost Western Australian growers over a million tonnes of grain based on the timing, severity and range of the frost event.

“I am hearing that it may be worse than they first thought.”

Low rainfall zones are providing a good news story.

Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) southern panel member Kate Wilson, based at Hopetoun in the Victorian Mallee, said the crops in her area still had huge yield potential.

“Generally speaking, things are magnificent, even though over the past week to ten days we have had some issues with waterlogging, which is almost unheard of at this time of year in this region.”

She said the waterlogging was across all soil types, rather than the normal issues where water pooled in areas with heavier soil.

Lentils are the major concern after getting overly wet.

“We know lentils are very susceptible to waterlogging at flowering so that is a concern, but the cereal crops are fantastic.”

She said farmers needed to keep a close eye on cereal crops to monitor for fungal disease outbreaks as the weather warmed up.

“Experience shows that a burst of warm weather after a period of rain can lead to disease outbreaks.”

She said there was good news for farmers in that stocks of cereal fungicides are much more readily available than those for broadleaf crops.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.