Family on track for harvest

Claire TyrrellCountryman
The West logo

The Cosgroves have enough moisture in the ground to get them to harvest.

Third-generation grower Gary Cosgrove farms with his wife Alison and sons Owen and Geoffrey.

They run three properties across 10,000 hectares in Mingenew and Arrino. They own 6200ha and lease an additional 3800ha.

This year, up to 380mm of rain has fallen on their land.

"We don't need any more rain. All we need is cool weather for the next few weeks and the job is done," Gary said.

"We had 100mm of summer rain, 100mm in May, 50mm in June, 70mm in August and 10mm in September."

Last year, the Cosgroves received just 267mm of rain for the whole season. Their annual average is close to 400mm.

Gary said summer rainfall set them up for an excellent season.

"Summer rain helped enormously," Gary said. "From the opening rain, we have had no shortage of soil moisture."

The family sowed lupins dry in early May, followed by wheat at the break of the season on May 16. They then went on to sow canola after the opening rains.

On the Mingenew block, Gary sowed Calingiri wheat at 55kg per hectare, with 100kg of K Start Xtra and 140kg of urea.

The family expanded their enterprise this season, purchasing 3600ha west of Arrino.

They bought an additional header to accommodate the bigger cropping program.

"We bought a John Deere 9770 because of the extra crop," Gary said.

Gary said there were no real standout crops this season. "Everything is fantastic. It has been a season you couldn't order any better," he said.

"The highest yielding crops are usually on the sandplain country (in Mingenew), but some of the loamy country in Arrino is looking very special."

The family also runs 1400 Merino breeding ewes and 120 Black Angus breeder cattle.

Gary said livestock were a small but essential part of the enterprise.

A total of 2400ha of the family's land is not cropped, half of which is dedicated to pasture and rest to chemical fallow.

Genetically modified canola became part of the mix for the Cosgroves this season.

The family sowed 320ha of GT 61 Scorpion at their leased block in Arrino.

Gary said he was pleased with its effectiveness in cleaning up weeds in paddocks.

"There was a ryegrass issue on the leased property and the GM canola has done a good job of cleaning that up," he said. "It is a marvellous tool for cleaning up ryegrass."

Gary is not concerned about glyphosate resistance in his canola.

"We will manage that by changing what we grow in the GM paddocks," he said.

"After this season, we'll go with wheat, lupins and wheat. We also used Spray.Seed as a knockdown in the paddocks we sowed with GM crops."

The family came to the northern Wheatbelt in 1977 and purchased land at Mingenew in 1988. Gary's father and brother farm at Shackleton, near Bruce Rock.

Fast facts *

_WHO: _ Gary and Alison, Owen and Haylie, Geoffrey and Fiona Cosgrove

_WHERE: _Mingenew and Arrino

_WHAT: _4400ha of wheat, 2400ha of lupins and 800ha of canola

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