Season saved against odds

Claire TyrrellCountryman
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Peter Barnetson considers himself lucky this season, as timely rainfall got his crops over the line.

Peter runs a 4400 hectare property in Eradu and a 1000ha block in Nabawa. This year, 195mm of rain fell on his home farm in Eradu and 245mm fell in Nabawa.

Peter said yields were surprisingly high, but quality was poor as he harvested his wheat.

“Wheat is averaging about 1.7 tonnes per hectare, which is pretty remarkable considering the amount of rain we’ve had, ” he said.

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“Screenings have been an issue – our lowest was 1.6 and our highest was 42 per cent.”

Peter had to blend some of his grain so it could be delivered as a higher grade, but some loads had to go through as AUW.

He said this would put a dent in his finances, but still expected the books to balance.

“Given the grain price, we should come close to budget this year, ” he said. “If we were going all APW we would be okay, but there is a fair amount going through as AUW.”

Peter said about 60 per cent of his grain would be sold as AUW this year. He said this would make a greater price difference for the grain he sold into forward contracts.

“The price difference between APW and AUW is about $15 a tonne for cash and $38 a tonne for contracts, ” he said. “We sold about half our grain through contracts and half for cash this year.”

Peter budgeted to yield about two tonnes per hectare and received about $220 per tonne.

While the dry season hampered the growth of his crops, Peter could be in a far worse position.

“We had about 90mm in August, which turned the season from being a disaster, ” he said.

“We only got about 2mm in September, but if we had another 20mm we could’ve had a three tonne crop.”

Peter started harvesting in mid October and is expected to finish by the end of the week.

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