Season shadow of last

Claire TyrrellCountryman

September rainfall could help lift yields for Carnamah growers the Wellingtons but the family is still expecting a below average crop.

So far this month 33mm have fallen on the family farm, 15km north-east of Carnamah, exceeding the September average of 24mm.

Daniel, who runs the farm with his parents, John and Rhonda, said results at harvest would pale in comparison to last year.

"Last year was our best ever season," he said.

"We had three tonnes (per hectare) on our wheat, and 1.9t/ha on our canola and lupins.

"This year we are expecting about 0.5t/ha on canola, 0.6t/ha on lupins and 1.3t/ha on wheat.

"If it keeps raining that might stretch up a bit higher."

This season was off to a dry start for the Wellingtons, as the family received just 33mm between January and May.

"By May last year we had 169mm," Daniel said.

With little stored moisture they began seeding on May 14 and didn't receive any significant rain until early June.

"We had to pull up seeding on June 6 and got a decent rain on June 10 and started again," he said.

The family had most of their lupins and canola in, and two thirds of their wheat, by mid June.

Daniel said their crops had good establishment, except for a 70ha canola paddock.

"We will still run the header over that but it is more about setting it up for next year," he said.

About 75mm fell across the farm in June, which is just above the 66mm average. In July the Wellingtons' crops fell behind because they received just 20mm of rain.

Daniel said without much subsoil moisture the crops suffered during this time.

The family's August rainfall was also below average - just 27mm for the month.

But September has provided timely falls with an up to 11mm rainfall event early last week.

"That rain was very handy but varied across the farm," Daniel said.

"Some areas received just 2mm while 11mm fell in other areas."

He said most of the rain fell on the dry sown crops where it was needed most.

The family cut back on inputs this year, which Daniel said would help their bottom line at harvest.

"With inputs it has been the reverse of last year," he said.

"Only about a third of the urea we purchased went out and we only went back over the wheat-on-wheat."

He said that high grain prices being experienced would also be beneficial at harvest.

About half of the family's wheat program is Mace and the rest Wyalkatchem.

The family also runs a Dohne flock of 700 breeding ewes.

Daniel is a third generation farmer since his grandfather came to the area in 1952.

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