CORN producers across the region are feeling the effects of a dry summer, as corn crops edge closer to the end of harvest.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has recorded a dry month for Gunnedah in February, with only 24mm of rain being recorded in the area.
Pursehouse Rural agronomist Matt Roseby told Fairfax Media most corn producers have either completed harvesting their crops or are in the process of harvesting.
“Most of the farmers who got their irrigated corn in early are pretty much done,” Mr Roseby said.
“That’s why a lot of farmers around here put irrigated corn in, it might be a bit riskier than sorghum, but you harvest early and are still a chance to build your soil profile up for winter with the usual storms we get in late February and March.”
Mr Roseby said that while the season had been “tough at times” it was an improvement on last year.
“I would probably describe this season as about average for irrigated corn farmers,” he said.
“I don’t know too many dry land corn farmers, but I imagine the hot weather and lack of rain hasn’t helped them much but it’s a damn sight better than last year.
“Last year we had a couple of weeks of above 40 degree days and that really didn’t do us any favours.”
The Gunnedah agronomist said corn was currently trading at a good price for farmers.
“Decent prices this month have definitely helped us,” he said.
“Last time I checked corn was going at $350 a tonne, which when compared to the water to hectare ratio makes it a solid profit revenue for farmers who are running it.”
Mr Roseby said corn crops provided plenty of rotation benefits to farmers as well.
“A lot of people use it as a rotation crop in between their cotton crops,” he said.
“They will often plant cotton then corn before planting cotton again.
“It really is an effective crop all around.”
In light of the severe heat and dry temperatures, more rain is needed to help farmers finish off current summer crop and prepare for winter crops.
“The sub-soil moisture level is terrible at the moment,” Mr Roseby said.
“At the moment the moisture level is at about 30cm when it’s usually around 90cm.
“In terms of preparation for winter crops, there wont be too many guys doing what they would usually do following the summer crop.”
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