After varied results in 2012, there is hope for 2013 in the agricultural industry.
Last year was a mixed one for local farmers, but there’s renewed confidence heading into 2013.
Most of the drama in 2012 came from the weather, with downpours in late February and early March delaying sowing and drowning crops.
However, the floods preceded a dry autumn, and the final rainfall tally for Deniliquin was only 316.6mm - compared to the 150 year average of 405.4mm.
Despite this, irrigators enjoyed a solid water allocation throughout the year.
Adam Wettenhall, who runs a mixed farming enterprise at Mayrung, said 2012 was a ‘‘great’’ year for irrigators.
Mr Wettenhall said 2012 was his first rice harvest ‘‘for a long time’’ and it was ‘‘very good’’.
His irrigated wheat crop was also ‘‘great’’, but it was a different story on the dryland.
‘‘The dryland was pretty ordinary for us — but the prices went up,’’ he said.
‘‘When we put the wheat in, in April, it looked fairly ordinary .
However, the price was stronger by harvest and the crop did not suffer any weather damage.
‘‘It’s been a good year, really,’’ he said.
Other farmers were less fortunate with dryland crops, with between 7,000 and 8,000 hectares of canola failing in the Deniliquin district.
Mr Wettenhall said his ‘‘only dampener’’ was the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, which was signed off on late last year.
The plan will divert 2750 gigalitres (GL) of productive water to the environment, and legislation to recover another 450GL is before the Senate.
‘‘We’re not sure where they’re going to get the water,’’ Mr Wettenhall said.
Aside from that uncertainty, Mr Wettenhall believes 2013 is looking positive.
‘‘If the dams are full and we get another allocation, things will be great,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve got a lot of ducks on the rice, more ducks than normal, but it’s all looking good now. Hopefully the price holds up.’’
As for the sheep and cattle markets, Mr Wettenhall said they had softened in 2012.
‘‘I’m hoping they will come back up in 2013,’’ he said.
Blighty dairy farmer Malcolm Holm said 2012 was an ‘‘okay’’ year.
‘‘2012 was full of potential, but didn’t quite happen,’’ he said.
‘‘Probably one of the main reasons for that was all the rain we had in late February, early March.’’
Mr Holm said the rain caused water damage, delayed sowing of pastures and put ‘‘a lot of stress on people [and] cows’’.
‘‘Having said that, it still wasn’t too bad. Milk prices came off a little bit, which was a bit disappointing.
‘‘There’s still a reasonable amount of confidence. There’s still demand for milk products.’’
However, he said there was uncertainty surrounding world markets, particularly Europe and the US, as well as domestic politics.
Nevertheless, he said the outlook for milk prices was good.
‘‘It’s creeping back to where it was 12 months ago,’’ he said.
‘‘I think it’s ‘steady as she goes’. The settings are all there for it to be a good year. I’d say people would be cautiously optimistic.’’
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