Poultry farm behind with autumn planting

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Herbert farmers David and Linda, and Brent Craig normally sow about one third of their spring crops in the autumn, and the remainder during spring, but this year sodden ground has prevented this.

David Craig said the company sows about 1200 acres total in wheat and barley to feed a rotating production chain of 90,000 chickens.

“Once we hit the end of May it is too late to sow autumn crops as the frost lifts the ground and this lifts the plant roots,” he said.

The soil can lift by four-five centimetres.

While the situation is still manageable, Mr Craig said they are well behind and this creates more pressure in the spring.

“If growing conditions in the spring are ideal, these crops are still sometimes better than autumn crops which have been dormant over the winter,” he said.

“It just depends what happens when you sow the (spring) crop in terms of rain,” he said.

While late summer harvests were completed the straw was unable to be baled due to wet conditions and now will have to be ploughed in to the soil. Mr Craig said this straw would normally be sold to dairy farmers which has resulted in a loss of income.

Craigs Poultry run a very self-sufficient business growing all their own feed (only buying in when necessary), packaging and delivering eggs themselves.

They buy in chickens at one day old and by 20 weeks they are ready to start their laying cycle. Birds in the laying shed produce eggs for 18 months.

Manure and old, cull birds are used as fertiliser for paddocks.

By LINDA MCCARTHY