Canola bloom a beauty

Headshot of Jenne Brammer
Jenne BrammerCountryman

It may be mid winter, but canola is already flowering for the Bothe family, of Coorow.

Joel Bothe said the canola had been flowering for about three weeks.

Joel, father Mike, and uncle Baxter made their earliest ever start to seeding canola on March 24, after generous early rains set up conditions perfectly.

They normally start seeding their canola in early to mid-April.

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“Conditions were perfect and our agronomist suggested we started early, so we went for it,” he said.

The planted 1000ha of GM canola, starting with GT50, before moving onto the 404 and 43Y23.

Joel said the family had received a generous 280mm of rain for the year, 240mm of which has fallen since March 18.

“I have been back on the farm for 10 years now and I’ve never seen a season quite as good as this. Our crops are all looking excellent and in terms of canola, this is the best looking crop we’ve ever had,” he said.

Coorow was receiving even more rain earlier this week. It received a further 11mm on Monday. Even though its canola is already flowering, the rain will still be beneficial to the production of the oilseed.

The Bothes have also planted lupins, barley and wheat and said all crops are in a good state.

The family expects to start harvesting their canola in late September.

Meanwhile, the current spread between GM and non GM canola pricing is wider than the historical average, but is reflective of European pricing signals, and the competition from other origins to access this market.

MarketAg grain marketing adviser Reece Duffield said the new crop GM canola was currently trading at $40t less than non GM. The average GM canola discount from non-GM is $31 tonne over the past five years.

“Our local pricing structure of late has been defined by European demand, following the absence of China within the last 12-18 months,” he said.

“What we have seen so far is that pricing is consistent across all four WA port zones for both GM and non-GM grain.

“While this has been the majority trend to date, we anticipate localised demand to develop as the season progresses.”

He said the strong start to the WA season had prompted more selling than normal from clients, especially given prices have pushed into the upper deciles.

“Grower targets on GM canola in the cash market are factoring in the historical discount of $30-$40t. In the swap market, other tools are being used to manage GM canola price risk exposure, especially on days when the price discount to GM is wide,” Mr Duffield said.

Rabobank’s Australian Crop Update said WA’s planted area to canola was expected to be up by five per cent this year at 1.26 million hectares, marking the biggest increase of any of the States.

For the whole of Australia, Rabobank is forecasting the total canola crop to be 3.28million tonnes — marking an 11 per cent increase.

Rabobank grains and oilseeds analyst Ben Larkin mentioned the promising season in WA within the report.

“Conditions in WA couldn’t be better, with the majority of the State’s cropping regions recording between 100mm and 300mm of rain between January and May,” he said.

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