Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

District farmers growing more canola

District farmers are busy harvesting crops, including canola, which has grown in popularity.

MONIQUE PRESTON December 4, 2012 4:11am

Harvesting canola

While wheat remains the biggest crop in the district this year, canola was the fastest growing one in terms of the number of plantings.

Lockington farmer Dean Mitchell estimated the amount of canola planted this year would have doubled compared to the previous year.

Prices are also up substantially this year, with canola fetching about $100 a tonne more than last year, he said.

Mr Mitchell, a mixed farmer, said district growers could expect a harvest of about two to three tonnes a hectare for their canola crops this year.

Wheat prices are also up about $100 a tonne on last year, with Mr Mitchell saying irrigated croppers in this area could expect a return of about five tonnes a hectare.

It is not only locally that canola plantings have increased, with pre-harvest estimates by the Department of Primary Industries finding canola crops were also the fastest growing crop across Victoria.

Canola crops have proved popular with farmers, with this year’s crop more than six times bigger than last year’s throughout the state.

An increase of 60,000ha to 400,000ha sown is tipped to produce a yield of more than 520,000 tonnes of the oilseed.

However, wheat will provide the biggest crop type, with an estimated 2.9 million tonne production.

This is down about 200,000 tonnes on 2011 due to mixed conditions and a drop of about 150,000ha, down to 1.4million hectares, on the area sown.

The pre-harvest estimates also showed chickpeas continued to make a comeback as new varieties with increased ascochyta blight resistance were released.

In 2011, 38,500ha of chickpeas were grown and this season about 56,000ha is expected to yield 84,000 tonnes, up 27,000 tonnes on last season.

The area sown to barley is up about 30,000ha this year to nearly 950,000ha and will produce an estimated 2.1million tonnes, down very slightly on last season.

Victoria’s annual DPI pre-harvest estimates predict this season’s overall harvest would be 6.1million tonnes, down 700,000 tonnes from 6.8 million tonnes last year.

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