Optimism in air as sowing programs wind up

Optimism in air as sowing programs wind up

Cropping
Brad Jenkinson, Warracknabeal, says it has been a good start to the season in his local area.

Brad Jenkinson, Warracknabeal, says it has been a good start to the season in his local area.

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Some NSW farmers have recorded what they describe as their best start to the season ever as the nation's cropping program winds up.

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THE MARKED turnaround throughout NSW where many farmers have gone from the desperation of two failed seasons in a row to what some have dubbed the best start ever headlines a solid start to the Australian winter cropping season.

While parts of Western Australia and Queensland remain dry, generally speaking the autumn moisture across Australia's cropping belt has been excellent.

NSW Farmers Association grains committee chairman Matthew Madden said farmers right throughout the state were excited for the season ahead.

"It is great to be entering the season with good conditions, right across the entire state with the exception of a couple of districts right up on the Queensland border things are in really good shape," Mr Madden said.

"Some farmers are even labelling it their best start ever."

Mr Madden said the plant was just about complete, even in the Central West region where heavy April rain delayed sowing.

"It's dried up just enough there to allow people to plant but there is still plenty of moisture, people are cautiously optimistic there is going to be a turnaround in fortunes after the last couple of years."

He said sowing was virtually done, with just a few later crops, such as chickpeas and durum wheat, still to go in.

"It was a great, early start, we even had the odd situation where people had to pull up and slow down a bit as things were going in a little bit too early."

Grain Growers chairman Brett Hosking said sowing was virtually done through Victoria and South Australia.

"There are a few pulses still to go in but by and large people have the crop in and are fairly happy with where things are sitting, there has been a pretty good general break over south-eastern Australia," Mr Hosking said.

He said in Western Australia the plant was near done, but there was markedly less optimism.

"There has been a little rain over the past fortnight but it has been patchy," he said.

"Most people have planted but they planted dry and there is not a lot of moisture so they are getting nervous."

In Queensland he said it had been a mixed bag, with some farmers taking a punt and planting and some holding off.

"There is reasonable moisture underneath but not really enough surface moisture to germinate," he said.

Through Victoria, the plant has gone well.

Brad Jenkinson, who works for Bernard Lindsay, Warracknabeal, in the northern Wimmera, said sowing was drawing to a close.

"It has gone fairly well, there has been some good rain but not enough to hold us up for long periods of time," he said.

In northern and central NSW, in contrast, Mr Madden said secondary roots were already pushing down into subsoil moisture.

"Through the north it won't require a lot of rain to get to close to an average crop at least."

Mr Madden's bullish forecast is backed up by Rabobank research issued this week which is predicting a massive 95 per cent increase in planted area in NSW.

Even allowing for the dry start, Rabobank tips Queensland winter crop hectares planted to increase by 44pc off last year.

In contrast WA planted area is tipped to rise by just 7pc, SA 12pc and Victoria 14pc.

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