Seeding season off to a strong start in the Mid West thanks to early rain

Lachlan AllenMidwest Times
Yuna farmer and agronomist Belinda Eastough.
Camera IconYuna farmer and agronomist Belinda Eastough. Credit: Shannon Verhagen/Countryman/RegionalHUB

Mid West seeding season is off to a good start off the back of early rains from cyclone Charlotte, however it’s too early to tell how harvest will turn out according to some farmers.

Farmers Liz and Tony Sudlow, who own two farms north of Northampton, say the early rain is a promising sign but there’s still a long way to go.

“Where we live in the Midwest, we rely on winter rain or seasonal rain to grow our crops, which are mainly cereal crops so, wheat, canola, lupins, barley, are the main grains that are grown in this area,” Mrs Sudlow, also the president of the Northampton Shire, said.

“So the fact that we have had relatively unseasonal early rain is fantastic.”

Mrs Sudlow said 2021 was a fantastic season for farmers in the West Mid, however, this was not indicative of how 2022 would go.

“For many people it would have been one of the best seasons that they have had,” she said.

“Some people have done some seeding, they will have seeded canola, because they take the risk that it will keep raining and that they’ll get a crop.”

She said traditionally farmers didn’t start seeding until about around Anzac Day.

“In recent times, people probably have taken a gamble and have seeded earlier than depending on how the season goes,” she said.

”So as I said before, farmers are generally very optimistic people. So all of the decisions they make are kind of calculated risks, basically.”

Her husband Tony Sudlow echoed his wife’s thoughts.

“It’s been a good start because its taken two weeks to get 55mm of rain, and we’ve had not much hot weather in between. So it’s a very good start, but certainly couldn’t say it’s going to be a great season, at this stage,” he said.

Yuna farmer and agronomist Belinda Eastough said the unseasonal rain experienced in the Wheatbelt was due to cyclone Charlotte.

“People in the northern agricultural region received between probably 30mm and some in excess of 100mm in this region.”

“That sort of started a flurry of activity and there was some canola planted on that rain and there was a bit of cultivation done like from deep ripping, soil amelioration, spading, basically deep cultivation of the soil as well was also done on that rain.”

She agreed it was too early to tell, but said there was one factor giving her hope.

“There’s a lot of things that can happen in between now and harvest, but there’s one brilliant thing that’s happened we now have subsoil moisture,” Ms Eastough said.

“So once you have some subsoil moisture, it takes away some guesswork and some of the risk, the plants’ root system will always have some moisture to go into to germinate and come up. So, yes, so having such almost moisture has taken away some planting risk.”

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