Staggered start

Claire TyrrellCountryman

Farming east of Ogilvie, the Cripps family is taking a staggered approach to their cropping program ahead of the season break.

Up to 230mm of summer rain fell on the 3040 hectares of arable country Ben and Angela Cripps farm with Ben’s parents Terry and Ros.

They started sowing canola on April 27, with 120ha of wheat and 600ha of canola sown in a week.

Ben said he was planning to hold off sowing any more paddocks until May 12, when 190ha of wheat was likely to go in.

“Then after that it will be a waiting game,” he said.

“We are at the point where if we seeded some of our paddocks, they might not germinate.

“The moisture is only 75mm down but by the time you mix it with the dry soil when you cultivate, the crops might not come up.

“The summer rain wasn’t a bad thing — we’ve got the moisture there to keep us going.”

He said lupins were most at risk in this situation.

Ben introduced Pallinup oats into his program this year, which saw his planted area increase by 120ha.

“Instead of fallowing country this year we are sowing oats,” he said.

Ben said he would wait for a germination of weeds in the paddocks before sowing the oats.

The Cripps family don’t run stock, but will bale the oats for hay.

This year they are also gearing up to go variable rate, buying a Flexi-Coil 4350 air cart. This is run with a 40-foot Horwood Bagshaw Scaribar.

“Our new seeding box is about twice the size of our old box, with 15 tonne capacity, and it is all variable rate,” Ben said.

“It makes it a lot easier, because different paddocks have different fertiliser requirements.”

Ben said he had not yet gone to variable rate seeding within each paddock, although that was the plan within the next three years, but changed his seeding rate from paddock to paddock.

The Magenta wheat was seeded at 70kg/ha with 80kg of nitrogen based compound Agstar Extra.

Ben is spraying in front of the seeder, with 50L of Flexi-N, 90L of water, 1.5L of trifluralin, 1L of glyphosate and 0.5L of chlorpyrifos per hectare.

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