Stick to what you know says grower

Lauren CelenzaCountryman

After last year’s heartbreaking season, some WA farmers may choose a different approach for their next crop.

But Pingelly farmer Rod Shaddick said farmers should not let memories of waiting for rain and watching crops wither affect their business decisions.

“Both 2002 and 2006 were terrible years, but the following years were crackers, ” he said.

“You get what you put in. If you make poor decisions now and don’t put all the effort in, you’re guaranteed to get a poor return.”

The third-generation farmer said there was plenty of soul searching after a poor season.

“Farmers wonder what they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong and what they would have done differently, ” Mr Shaddick said.

“At the end of the day, we wouldn’t have done anything differently and it just came down to the weather.

“We have a fairly successful long-term formula, so stick to what we know has been successful in the past.”

Gearing up for this year’s highly anticipated crop, Mr Shaddick was busy carting and spreading lime, soil testing and fencing.

He plans to crop the same volumes of canola, wheat and barley as last year, including a mix of genetically modified (GM) canola.

“Our GM was the highest yielding crop last year and we will plant between 60 and 100 hectares of it again this year, ” he said.

Mr Shaddick said the continual liming program he has followed for the past 10 years has improved productivity and resulted in fewer weeds and better soil health.

“We spread about one tonne per hectare of lime sand to increase the soil pH, ” he said.

Recent storms around WA delivered 17mm of rain to the property, however, Mr Shaddick said it was more of a nuisance than anything.

“It will promote the growth of summer weeds, which we will have to spray, and it doesn’t help with the moisture bank for this year’s crop this early, ” he said.

The 100 per cent cropper said now that his son, Courtney, 22, had returned to the farm, they may look at getting a sheep flock again.

However, the storms caused stubbles to wash away, leaving less feed for livestock producers in many areas.

“I usually agist my paddocks for sheep feed, but the rain washed away about 25 per cent of the stubbles, ” Mr Shaddick said.

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