Promising signs for summer crop
From the edition of Agriculture Today.
A recent grains report from the Department of Primary Industries paints a hopeful picture for our State’s farmers.
Figures from the report show the total summer crop area sown across the State is nearly 655,000 hectares. This is a 75 per cent improvement on the previous two seasons.
In addition, the State’s rice crop is estimated to be around 95,000 hectares this year, with production forecasts of around 875,000 tonnes - a big improvement on the 535,000 tonnes produced two years ago.
These figures are a promising sign for our farmers and we remain optimistic that the drought could be breaking.
According to the January NSW Grains Report, the summer crop estimates are as follows:
- This year’s sorghum crop stands at just over 300,000 hectares, which is almost double the area sown last season.
- Sunflower plantings are through the roof with an estimated 79,000 hectares sown, compared to just 30,000 hectares last year.
- The maize crop is expected to reach 37,000 hectares this year, compared to 18,000 hectares last season, making this year’s crop the largest since 2002.
- The NSW cotton crop is also up, with 197,000 hectares planted this year compared to 172,000 hectares the year previous.
These plantings could potentially deliver the best crops in recent years for farmers.
However, there are concerns that yield in some areas may be reduced as a result of the hot dry conditions experienced in January and early February.
The Department of Primary Industries will continue to monitor the situation and we remain hopeful for a good summer crop harvest this season.
Women’s night success
On February 9, I had the pleasure of hosting the seventh rural women’s award.
The annual awards recognise the outstanding contribution women make in primary industries and this year we had three outstanding finalists honoured on the night.
The 2006 RIRDC NSW Rural Women’s Award went to cotton farmer and rural towns website designer Kate Schwager. Runner-up was Mary Howard, a prawn trawl business operator from the lower Hawkesbury, and third place finalist, Cath Ford is an organic macadamia and coffee bean grower from Rosebank on the State’s north coast.(See full story)
All three women were excellent candidates for the $10,000 bursary and no doubt they will each continue building on their achievements.
The night was a huge success and congratulations are due to everyone involved in the 2006 Award.
This column appears in Agriculture Today.