Rain needed as crop sowing start

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Moisture would be welcome for North Otago and South Canterbury arable farmers, Peter Mitchell says.
The Foundation for Arable Research representative for the two regions said they “certainly need a wee bit of rain”. Conditions were ideal for the few farmers still harvesting crops, but more than 90% was already completed.
The dry weather had not caused delays, as it was “easy to do tractor work and cultivate the soil”.
“It would be even better if the soil was moist.”Some farmers were finding their crops too dry to germinate.
“Twenty millimetres would be quite ideal for most people sowing crops, to get them up and away.”Groundwater reserves were continuing to be depleted with the lack of rainfall, Mr Mitchell said.
“It’s been a very long irrigation season.”Farmers who have irrigation available were keen to stop using it, because it was both costly and “a big time commitment”. That was especially the case for those having to shift K-lines.
Some arable farmers, particularly with irrigation, had achieved decent yields this season, Mr Mitchell said.
“There was good solar radiation for photosynthesis.”However, some dryland spring crops had “suffered a bit”, resulting in yields lower than other years.
The real killer, he said, was grain prices, which were “well back on last year on the back of the dairy payout”.
“The global commodity market is back. It’s the same for farmers in Europe and Australia.”He remained philosophical.
“You’ve always got to be optimistic when you’re farming. “You have wins and losses,” Mr Mitchell said.
“It’s important to seek advice and have people you can discuss things with so you can make timely decisions.”