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Rain prompts spraying

Claire TyrrellCountryman

Yuna farmer Craig Williamson is doing all he can to conserve the moisture he received from Christmas rains.

Craig farms with his brother Gerard and his father Danny on a 5200-hectare farm 25km east of Yuna.

Between 50 and 80mm of rain fell on the Williamsons’ property just before Christmas, prompting them to start spraying.

“We will be spraying everything that is going into crop, which is 3500ha, ” Craig said.

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“We’re getting the weeds that came up early on last year’s fallow paddocks, to conserve moisture and make it easier to get the machines through.”

Craig is preparing to put in 2600ha of wheat and 900ha of lupins this year.

The Williamsons have worked hard to restore their land after the 2006 and 2007 droughts and it would take a lot for their plans to change.

“If we got a bit more rain between now and seeding we might put a bit more wheat in, but we wouldn’t change it too much, ” he said.

“We’ve been working on this rotation for a couple of years and it’s taken a long time for us to get things the way we want them.

“We are trying to keep 50 per cent of the hectares in wheat, 15 to 20 per cent in lupins and 30 per cent to fallow.”

Craig said the advantage of a wheat-fallow rotation had become abundantly clear to the family in recent years.

“Last year we sowed wheat on wheat alongside wheat on fallow and there was a big difference between the crops, ” Craig said.

“The wheat on fallow was about one tonne higher in yield and it had lower screenings and fewer weeds than the wheat on wheat.”

On this year’s planned wheat paddocks, Craig applied a blanket rate of glyphosate, metsulfuron and triclopyr.

On the paddocks where lupins are planned, he used Ester-24D instead of metsulfuron.

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