Cautious approach to winter sowing

Arable farmers took in higher crop yields last summer. PHOTO: DAVID HILL
Arable farmers took in higher crop yields last summer. PHOTO: DAVID HILL
Arable farmers with fuller silos of the six main cereal crops from a better harvest than last season seem to be taking a cautious approach to autumn and winter sowing.

Total yields were up 4% for milling and feed wheat, malting and feed barley and milling and feed oats, and even though a similar number of hectares were harvested the total tonnage had a similar increase.

By the start of April, most crops were almost completely harvested, with 7% of feed barley, 11% of milling oats and 22% of feed oats and 78% still to come in, according to a Arable Industry Marketing Initiative (Aimi) survey.

Carry-over stocks of both sold and unsold feed wheat and feed barley were higher on April 1 than in the previous three years.

However, Aimi says there still remained 2.1% of last year’s feed wheat unsold and stocks on hand of feed barley crops were 2.5% from the 2023 harvest.

For the harvest completed earlier this year stocks of unsold feed wheat are up 46%, feed barley up 6%, milling wheat up 7%, while malting barley is down 11%.

Surveyed growers indicated autumn and winter sowings of feed wheat are expected to be down 1900ha on predicted sowings a year ago.

Feed barley sowings are predicted to be down by 2700ha, milling wheat back by 1000ha, malting barley up by 200ha, milling oats down by 170ha and feed oats up by 540ha.

tim.cronshaw@alliedpress.co.nz