Family wraps up program

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Jenne BrammerCountryman
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The O’Driscoll family from Northam: Tim, Jaxon, Bailey, Damian and Glen.
Camera IconThe O’Driscoll family from Northam: Tim, Jaxon, Bailey, Damian and Glen. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper

The O’Driscoll family of Northam finished their 2016 harvest program on Sunday afternoon — just ahead of a harvest ban that evening and rain the following day.

Damian O’Driscoll, who farms with parents Tim and Lynda, wife Sharon and son Jaxon, and brother Glen and his wife Karen, said their harvest finished about the usual time.

They would now move on to the “after harvest clean-up” and focus on sheep work. The family crop 1930ha, which they manage alongside 1005ha of pasture.

They run 1800 Merino ewes mated to Merino rams and a further 400 Merino ewes mated to Poll Dorsets.

Although the season started as potentially one of their best yet after fantastic early rains, Mr O’Driscoll said they ended up with average yields overall because of frost damage later in the season.

“I’m certainly not complaining, I’ve heard some horror stories, particularly out east towards Bruce Rock, so appreciate that we have not fared too badly by comparison,” he said.

Like many in WA, their canola exceeded expectations.

The family planted a 325ha crop of Bonito and Roundup Ready canola, and averaged two tonnes a hectare.

They were also happy with a 290ha planting of Mortlock oats for domestic and export hay, which averaged 7t/ha.

Their 275ha crop of lupins, mostly Gunyidi with the exception of 20ha of Jurien, averaged 1.8t/ha. Meanwhile, the family’s 190ha crop of LaTrobe barley disappointed, with yields of 3.2t/ha.

Mr O’Driscoll said while he expected the lower river country would be affected, frost also damaged barley on higher ground.

The family’s 850ha crop of wheat, mostly Magenta and Mace and 20ha of Scepter, averaged 3.1t/ha.

Mr O’Driscoll estimated yield loss as a result of frost to be about 15 to 20 per cent of the wheat, with Mace hit hardest.

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