Farming in Focus Summer 2020/21


The 2020 year has certainly been one to remember. The phenomenal seasonal conditions across NSW and other areas through late Winter and Spring have produced enormous pasture growth and crop yield potential. The threat of a wetter than average La Nina period is at present holding back allowing growers to doggedly persevere with fodder conservation, harvest operations and paddock preparation for 2021 rotations. While the Covid-19 pandemic was blamed for the slow supply of crop inputs earlier in the year, the ever-increasing limited supply of machinery parts and the huge loads being placed on harvesting machinery has certainly tested growers, contractors, technicians & machinery suppliers to keep the gear rolling. The exceptional livestock prices recorded especially over the last 3 to 4 months has certainly paid back those producers that were able to successfully manage the drought period. Long periods of hand feeding to maintain core breeding stock came at a price, however those that stuck at it are certainly able to capitalise on supplying the current market opportunities. Grain yields have been excellent across vast areas, albeit with varying quality parameters, and with prices holding throughout the harvest & delivery period it has been a much-needed combination for all agricultural businesses. The high potential export of soil nutrients out the gate this year with record yields will test nutrition programs in 2021. That combined with the management of crop residue and the likelihood of La Nina summer weed burdens that will need to be

Matt McRae and Brad Shephard

• Huge loads being placed on harvesting machinery

• Stubble management will be crucial

• High potential export of soil nutrients out the gate

• Herbicide programs for 2021 will need to be carefully analysed

proactively managed to maintain ground cover, retain soil moisture, and enable nutrient cycling. Herbicide programs for 2021 will also have to be carefully analysed to ensure the weed seed escapees this year will not jeopardise the tireless efforts over many years of planning and executing rotations. There are many useful herbicide actives available that allow sufficient solubility to get through large ground cover loadings, but we can’t rely on them entirely.

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