Fortune’s wheel on up for farm yields

Melissa WilliamsCountryman
Corey and Olivia Mincherton, daughter Heidi , 8, and son Caleb, 10.
Camera IconCorey and Olivia Mincherton, daughter Heidi , 8, and son Caleb, 10. Credit: Picture: Simon Santi

Corey Mincherton and his parents Phil and Sue are among the many central grainbelt growers reaping higher than expected yields from cereal crops this season and helped contribute to deliveries of 0.5 million tonnes from this region to CBH last week.

Despite a slight rain delay on the weekend, the Minchertons have harvested 700ha of barley that produced average yields of 3-3.5 tonnes per hectare.

Corey said this was higher than anticipated a month ago and indicated wheat yields were also likely to be above long-term averages for their Ballidu farm.

He said harvested barley quality was also good, but low protein levels meant some of the crop was not making malt grades.

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Corey said it was disappointing to see feed barley prices crash by about $30/t between Wednesday and Friday last week, as many growers entered the market.

However, he said feed barley prices were still about $100/t better than in 2017 and farm gate wheat prices were looking good at about $300-320/t, which was about $60/t higher than last year.

The Minchertons will harvest about 2900ha of wheat this year, 1400ha of barley and 1100ha of canola, and have started a forward marketing program for their grain.

Like most growers in their region, the family’s hopes for average crop yields were high during the growing season on the back of near-perfect conditions and 214mm of rainfall.

But their hopes appeared to be lost after frost hit and there was a lack of important finishing rains in September.

Then, in a positive twist to an unusual season, the Minchertons’ fortunes turned again on the final day of September when rain finally arrived.

“It seems those rains at the end of September and early October, followed by a very mild finish in October temperatures, did a lot more good to our cereal crop yields than we initially thought,” Corey said.

“And while we weren’t as badly affected by frosts as farmers further south, we did get a touch and even that damage does not look to be as bad as it first appeared.”

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