North Otago's cropping farmers are ''waiting with great
expectations'', Foundation for Arable Research representative
Peter Mitchell says.
He hoped the weather settled down for February, after a wet
winter, spring and early summer. The last few days had been
''not too bad'' for the arable sector, he said on Friday.
Mr Mitchell, who runs a large mixed cropping farm that was
last year's Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards supreme
winner, had so far harvested early grass seed with a yield
''ever so slightly above average''.
However, the early barley had suffered from the winter
moisture: ''It's not a barn-busting yield.''
The early hybrid rape was above expectations, although the
germination and purity were yet to be tested. The bulk of
harvesting was yet to start in North Otago.
''I'm predicting the yields will be reasonable, but not over
the top. With the wet winter and spring, quite a lot of
disease has taken the top out of the yield with the wheat.''
The spring barley was looking promising, but it was too soon
to know what the quality would be. The district's cropping
farmers were generally in a good frame of mind, he said. Most
were not exclusively arable, so the rain that might have
disadvantaged their crops was good for other parts of the
''That's farming; you take the good with the bad.''
Prices seemed to holding firm, he said.
Farmers now had to be patient while they waited for crops to
ripen and ideal harvesting conditions.
Further north, Makikihi farmer and Federated Farmers South
Canterbury and North Otago grain and seed chairman Colin
Hurst reported the season was ''progressing quite well''.
Hot temperatures last Wednesday had allowed plenty to be
accomplished, and rain forecast for the following days had
The early crops had been ''a bit light'', but later ones
Federated Farmers South Island grain and seed vice-chairman
David Clark said Mid-Canterbury's arable farmers were wanting
to get the main harvest under way.
While dryland farmers had been able to start harvesting,
those on irrigated land were still waiting because of the
He believed the harvest would be average, at best.
Pea crops had been disappointing and grass seed yields were
''Farmers need to be really responsible when burning
stubble,'' Colin Hurst says.
The Federated Farmers South Canterbury and North Otago grain
and seed chairman urged his colleagues to plan well before
''The last thing we want to see is fires getting out of
control. It could jump a fire break if you're not
Although a burn-off that got away might not result in a large
fire, it was important not to waste the Fire Service's time,
Mr Hurst said. Farmers should realise it was a privilege to
be allowed to use burning as a land-management tool, he said.
Anyone planning to burn stubble should notify neighbours and
call off the burn if wind was likely to blow smoke across
roads or towards residential areas.
- Sally Brooker and Maureen Bishop.