Steady as she goes at Yealering

Haidee VandenbergheCountryman

You could say it's an almost perfect start to the season for Yealering's Craig and Karen Jespersen, not that the couple are getting ahead of themselves.

With 80mm for December, 60mm between January and April and now 47mm for May, the Jespersens' paddocks boast a full moisture profile.

The couple, who farm with Craig's parents, Eric and Jill, started dry seeding on Tuesday last week but by the end of that week things were looking decidedly wet.

"In some areas the moisture was only just under the surface and in some of the heavier country it was further down but that will all meet up now," Craig said.

"We had only done a couple of days dry seeding and we'd had one paddock of canola to go before it did rain.

"We've now finished that and started the oats for export hay.

"Even if we don't get rain for the next 2-3 weeks it will still be fine - we'll just keep going and things will still germinate."

But while there is a temptation to go hell for leather, Craig said they would try to strategically sow to minimise frost risk later in the season.

"We're trying to slow ourselves down now and take it steady so we can get a germination on the wheat and barley paddocks," he said.

"We plan to finish by the end of the first week of June. We could easily do it by the end of May but I've been burnt a few times with frost.

"If we don't get rain for the next two weeks or so and it doesn't look like there is any more coming, we'll probably get it all in if it's drying out.

"But if we get more rain and there is plenty of moisture, we'll spread the risk and spread (seeding) out."

With canola prices booming, Craig said he was tempted to boost his canola program but more than likely he would stick with his usual program.

"We've probably done two paddocks more than usual with canola but that was because we dropped them off the year before," he said.

"I'm very tempted to put some more canola in but at the same time it's a long way to go to the end of the season and we've had good starts before and things have fallen over at the end. We've had canola badly frosted as well.

"I was going to maybe drop some barley for canola but then I'm thinking about if I do that I may be open to more frost risk compared to the barley.

"We won't get too excited because it's only the start of the season - we've still got the middle and the finish to go and that's a long way.

"You want to be positive and enjoy the moment we're in and enjoy seeding."

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