Allens try their luck with canola

Claire TyrrellCountryman

The Allens at Ogilvie are trying their luck with canola for the first time in six years, enticed by the high prices and seeding opportunity with good soil moisture.

Peter and Heather Allen, who farm with their son Rodney and his wife Jasmyn, finished seeding their 4200 hectare cropping program on Tuesday.

The first of their canola went in the ground on April 28.

With about 250mm of summer rain, their paddocks have plenty of subsoil moisture.

“We sowed about half of our paddocks dry and then within a week some of it came up,” Peter said.

“We had enough subsoil moisture for germination.”

Their property, 47km north-east of Northampton, received about 25mm over seven days in mid May, with an additional 30mm over last weekend.

“We had 25mm between the May 14 and 21,” Peter said. “We had about 30mm overnight on Sunday, which was better than expected.”

The last time the Allens sowed canola was in 2005.

Peter said this season’s canola prices were encouraging, but he mainly viewed the crop as a rotational tool.

Most of the family’s canola is Tanami, which they sowed at 4kg per hectare with 60kg of K-Till Extra.

Peter said he did not believe there was an advantage in growing Roundup Ready canola.

“I wouldn’t grow genetically modified canola at the moment,” he said.

“If it had other GM traits I might have a look at it, but I don’t see much advantage in Roundup Ready.

“GM technology has got a great future though.”

Also a director of WAFarmers, Peter keeps a close eye on the politics surrounding farming.

In response to the recent State Budget, Peter said it lacked investment in rail infrastructure.

“They didn’t fund the tier three rail lines, which will come back to bite them,” he said. “In some cases, it is cheaper to put trucks on the road, but it is more expensive if you have to do road repairs.”

Peter welcomed investment in the drought pilot, but said it would not affect him directly.

“I’m not convinced about the drought pilot, but if they want to put money into it then that’s fine,” he said. “There could be a lot of farmers who might not be eligible for the farm business grants — there are a lot of criteria.”

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