Confidence riding high on better grain prices

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Jacky and Ashley Chadwick with their sons Dylan, 8, and Nicholas, 10.
Camera IconJacky and Ashley Chadwick with their sons Dylan, 8, and Nicholas, 10. Credit: Cally Dupe

Harvest is rolling along at Ashley and Jacky Chadwick’s Williams farm, with canola in the bin and the header moving on to wheat.

It won’t be the most bountiful harvest the growers have ever seen, but they are banking on high grain prices to make it an above-average year profit-wise.

Barley prices are about $100 a tonne up compared to this time last year, while wheat is up almost $130 a tonne. Cropping accounts for 75-80 per cent of the family’s 1680ha arable mixed farming operation, which also includes about 200 Dohne-Merino mated ewes for wool and prime lambs.

This year, they planted about 86ha of Trojan wheat, 66ha of Gunyindi lupins, 250ha of export hay, 120ha of Bannister oats, 466ha of La Trobe barley and 360ha of Bonito and GT53 canola.

Crops emerged after 38mm of rain in late May and then stalled as waterlogging and leaching from a wet winter took its toll.

Mr Chadwick, who has farmed at the property “in his own right” since 2004, said the region’s forest and sandy soils were challenging.

Like many others in the area, the Chadwicks’ operation was once sheep-based, but drying conditions have meant they have been able to switch most of their program into cropping, which Mr Chadwick said was “more reliable”.

The farmers have been using wetting agents “with some success” and additional phosphorus to help with continual cropping.

Dylan and Nicholas in a canola crop.
Camera IconDylan and Nicholas in a canola crop. Credit: Cally Dupe

Their crops have been a mixed bag of yields, with canola averaging 1.6 tonnes/ha, wheat and barley topping 3t/ha, and lupins and oats topping 3t/ha.

Hay was the shining light in the Chadwick’s program this year, yielding more than 6t/ha in areas.

The family hopes to finish harvest before Christmas, breakdowns and weather permitting.

“Yields have not been on the exciting side this year . .. we are hoping we have done the worst paddocks first and that we are on the improve. The upside is grain pricing is up quite a bit this year,” Mr Chadwick said.

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