Seeding unit key to success

Jenne BrammerThe West Australian

Narembeen farmer Roy Gray hopes to finish his seeding program by the weekend.

Mr Gray, who farms with wife Jacky, started seeding last week after 11mm of rain over the previous weekend and 26mm three weeks before that.

"The rain so far has been good. The 26mm enabled the weeds to germinate," he said. "The following 11mm enabled everything to freshen up, so we could come in with a knockdown."

Mr Gray said his average season break was May 20, so this year he was running close to schedule.

His cropping program this year will involve about 180ha of Scope and Yagan barley and about 600ha of Espada wheat.

Mr Gray, who grew up on the farm and has been working the land since leaving school, said investment in the Fowler Seeding System three years ago had made life far easier.

Designed by Brian and Colin Fowler, of Wongan Hills, the seeding system involves a module that trails behind the knifepoint, enabling seed to be sown at any depth required.

"This system I am using has been a godsend - it is very versatile, you can seed at the required depth and it only takes about 20 minutes to adjust the bar," Mr Gray said.

The Grays also run 650 ewes, which are now dropping lambs.

The ewes are from the Crampthorne bloodline, based at Muntadgin.

Planfarm consultant Glen Brayshaw said seeding in the Narembeen area was going to plan for many farmers, and most would wind up their seeding programs within the week.

"Some of my clients had a small bit of crop up before the recent rain two weekends ago. Those crops were sown into moisture a month or so ago and were slowly progressing," Mr Brayshaw said.

"The 10mm to 12mm received on most properties two weekends ago was much needed."

Mr Brayshaw said recent rain had also helped dry-sown crops to germinate.

The April rains have also enabled good weed control.

"This marked the third consecutive year of reasonable weed control due to early weed germinations, which is great in terms of reducing the weed bank and will provide benefits in years to come," Mr Brayshaw said.

However, he said farmers in the area were frustrated with the current dry conditions.

"Looking at the radar there is no rain expected in coming days," Mr Brayshaw said.

"But fingers crossed, there will be some more rain very soon, and that the impact of these dry conditions will not have too many lasting effects."

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