Double whammy hits croppers

SOME Tasmanian cropping farmers could be facing a double whammy as poppy crops sown for a second time are hit once again by extremely wet conditions.

As farmers battle to get crops into the ground, some growers are now waiting to see what the impact of this week’s rain will be on resown poppy crops.

Extractas Biosceince field operations manager Noel Beven said they had suffered significant crop area loss already this season, due to the record wet conditions, especially in the northern Midlands region. Now, he said they were waiting to see how the most recent rain will impact newly sown crops.

“It’s certainly an interesting situation,” he said. “We have resown a significant area in the Longford to Campbell Town region in the days leading into the latest rain event. It’s too early to tell yet if it will have an impact on those crops.”

Mr Beven said overall the company was expecting a significant area loss, but it was too early to quantify what that would be at this stage. The cold and wet conditions have also been making disease and weed control more difficult.

Mr Beven said many growers were struggling stick to their crop treatment programs as paddocks were too wet to spray. He said they were hopeful the company would be able to meet demand for its products, however they could be left short if the resown crops were impacted significantly.

Grain crops in some areas are also being impacted, as waterlogging and disease pressures start to take their toll. There are now expected to be some crop losses and disease issues could also reduce yields in some crops. Wet conditions have also caused major delays in planting pea crops.

Potato growers are also battling against the weather with many crops going into the ground much later than usual. Potato processor Simplot has agreed to provide growers with assistance in the form of a yield guarantee and a higher price.

Simplot potato growers committee chairman Leigh Elphinstone said the assistance from Simplot recognises the challenges growers are facing this season. A yield guarantee of $50 a tonne, for crops that yield between 19-49 tonnes a hectare, will be provided for crops sown after November 14.

Mr Elphinstone said this would help offset some of the yield losses for crops sown so late in the season. For other crops, growers will be offered an extra $20 a tonne on the contracted tonnage amounts this season. Mr Elphinstone said about 50 per cent of the company’s crop is now in the ground.

“We had a bit of a window there for a few days so the guys with good red soil got a few in but anyone on heavier clay type soils it has still been too wet to get on the paddocks,” he said. “We’re supposed to get more rain this weekend as well so that won’t help.”