Solid gold season

Golden outlook: Canola crops in the Goulburn Valley, like these in Wyuna East, are expected to have high yields this season. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

Goulburn Valley canola farmers are set to reap the benefits of high prices and high yields this season.

Continued shortages in the supply of the oilseed crop overseas have seen prices remain at more than $800/tonne, according to AWB.

And the latest three-month rainfall outlook, issued by the Bureau of Meteorology, says spring rainfall is very likely to be above median in all cropping regions in Victoria.

It is also highly likely that northern cropping regions will receive rainfall in September that is above average.

Commodity forecaster, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, said the favourable outlook for spring rainfall, combined with the solid foundation laid during winter, meant yield prospects were average to above average in most cropping regions.

Wyuna East mixed farmer Jake Thompson planted a hybrid variety of canola this season and is expecting a good yield from the crop.

“We’re expecting big things from canola this year,” he said.

Advanced Ag Shepparton agronomist Tim Anderson said while it would be hard to beat last season’s yield, farmers were still expecting a good season come December.

“They probably won’t be as good as last year, because they were probably (the best) yields we’ve ever seen,” Mr Anderson said.

“But they’ll be solid.”

ABARES said while this year’s yield was expected to fall by 10 per cent compared to last year, it was still expected to be above long-term averages.

ABARES also recorded a 24 per cent increase in canola crops in Australia this year, the third highest on record at three million hectares.

Mr Anderson said Advanced Ag sold one of its largest volumes of canola seed this year.

“For a dry start there was definitely more acres planted,” he said.

Many crops in the region have recovered from the bumpy start to the season, and quality is still expected to be high.

“It was a tough start for it due to patchy germination and late autumn break but since then it’s been very good,” Mr Anderson said.

Mr Thompson said they test the quality of their canola by seeing how far their kids can run through the paddock before getting stuck.

“You want to know how good your canola is? See how hard it is to walk through,” he said.

Further stories on the ABARES report and speculation over whether Australia has reached ‘peak acreage’ in crop production, are on pages 6 and 7.