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My Patch: Rush on for sowing season

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With April just around the corner, the rush is on to get paddocks prepared and inputs home and on farm in preparation for the 2017 sowing period.
Like a damp dishcloth around a stovepipe, summer has been clinging on, but a recent out of the blue drop of rain and round one of the AFL has reminded all that we are already a third of the way through autumn.
The tarot cards presented in last month’s edition of AgLife are beginning to come to fruition with the slow start to fertiliser dispatches beginning to cause some minor complications at port.
What is always a notoriously busy time of year at the major ports has so far had a little bit of extra spice this season relative to the past couple of years.
With a huge export program underway with regards to grain and increased fertiliser use forecasted throughout Victoria and southern New South Wales, the sheer volume of product going out as well as coming in has the shipping channels resembling the West Gate Bridge.
This had made procurement and logistics teams at all levels earn every cent of their pay cheque as they consistently manage to fit square pegs into round holes.
The ports, and in particular Corio Bay, are always fascinating places to visit at this time of the year.
Where the grain is going out, the trucks will flock as grain provides the first leg of a round trip, with the backload usually being fertiliser. But it can also be stone, lime and everything in-between.
Efficiency is the name of the game here as transport companies and many growers aim to keep their trucks full for as much of the trip as possible.
Geelong will usually provide more options for the first leg due to its proximity to Melbourne and with it additional marketing options for grain.
However, those who are closer to Portland need to be a little more creative because options are more limited. This is especially the case this season due to the abundance of grain and many dairy farmers in south-west Victoria having a superfluity of options when it comes to where their supplementary feed comes from.
As a result, inventive loads are created with many growers even throwing wool bales in their bulk bin to make the trip south that bit more efficient.
As far as the beginning of seeding goes, northern growers who must sow by the calendar in order to get through their programs are almost ready to strike their first blow on vetch in late March and the first week of April.
A delayed start to sowing in the Wimmera and Western District was possible with chatter of continued warm dry weather and a late break, however, recent rain of anywhere between 20 and 60 millimetres in some areas has changed the situation slightly and might see growers shift gears in coming weeks in order to begin sowing on or before Anzac Day.
Regardless if it is a false start or not, the rain will no doubt allow continuous croppers to get a good kill on weeds and the mixed farmer should get a nice green pick that will hopefully provide a good feed wedge that bridges the gap between now and the winter months.
One would think that if we can jag another five to 10ml in the next two to three weeks, along with some slightly cooler weather, we should be off and racing for 2017.
With growers working most days throughout April – there are actually only 17 official working days – this is sure to make for an exciting and challenging month ahead as farmers enter one of the busiest times of year on the land.

The entire March 29, 2017 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire March 29, 2017 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Mar 29 2017

Posted by on Mar 29 2017. Filed under Agriculture, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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