Bumper crops on the horizon

FARMERS were all smiles after this week’s rainfall capped off a sensational season for winter crops.

In another boost to local agriculture, water allocations were increased for local irrigators.

After more than four millimetres fell on Tuesday and Wednesday, most cereal crops have had enough rain to rival the record  harvest of 2010. 

Hillston wheat farmer Kent Burgess said his field peas were expected to the best ever and his cereals have had enough rain to ensure an above-average return.

“Even though it didn’t rain a lot this week, it was certainly beneficial as it will add yield, especially for the wheat and barley sown late,” Mr Burgess said. 

“This is going to be the best crop of field peas I have ever had and my cereals will go close to the record harvest of 2010, some farmers might even have a better year than 2010.

“Everyone is very buoyant and in high spirits about this year’s potential.” 

Mr Burgess said most of the farmers he spoke to were surprised by how well the crops have responded to the rain over the past three weeks.

Crops sown late were expected to benefit from more rain in the next ten days but for most winter cereals the best weather would be six to eight weeks of dry weather in the lead-up to harvest.

The rainfall comes as general security allocations in the Murrumbidgee valley rose 10 per cent to 48 per cent, but 5 per cent of that entitlement would remain locked up until after February 2014. 

The NSW water commissioner David Harriss said preferential releases from Blowering Dam would continue in a bid to conserve Burrinjuck Dam for peak summer demand. 

“While there has been some significant improvement in water levels in Burrinjuck Dam, because of the imbalance between Burrinjuck and Blowering dams, the deliverability of all water before the end of February is still not possible,” Mr Harriss said.

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