Birdseed a niche market

Opportunity crop to pay off


Cropping
MCCULLAGHS: Chris and Emma McCullagh with sons Sid, Eddie, and Will with this year's opportunity sunflower crop.

MCCULLAGHS: Chris and Emma McCullagh with sons Sid, Eddie, and Will with this year's opportunity sunflower crop.

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For the second time in 25 years, the McCullagh family in Emerald have a sunflower crop in the ground.

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FOR Chris and Emma McCullagh, Codewarra West and Lot 139, Emerald, sunflowers posed an opportunity too good to pass up this year.

The McCullagh’s manage a total of 1600 hectares between the two properties, and are predominantly cotton farmers.

However for only the second time in 25 years, they planted 200ha of sunflowers this year. 

The crop, at Lot 139, is maturing well and Mr McCullagh said he was surprised at how tall the variety was growing.

With Sunbird 7 and Ausigold 62 in the ground, Mr McCullagh said he was impressed with how well the crops were performing. 

They planted in late February and early March, utilising the land used last year for the winter chickpea crop.

MCCULLAGHS: Chris and Emma McCullagh with sons Sid, Eddie, and Will with this year's opportunity sunflower crop.

MCCULLAGHS: Chris and Emma McCullagh with sons Sid, Eddie, and Will with this year's opportunity sunflower crop.

Mr McCullagh said the sunflowers were looking “great”.

“It really has gone pretty well,” he said.

“It was pre-irrigated and has had one in-crop irrigation.”

The opportunity the McCullaghs saw was a rare one in the birdseed market.

“There is limited supply so we’re just targeting that niche opportunity,” Mr McCullagh said.

“The price was right, the land was free - as in there wasn’t another crop planted in there - and we had some water so we took the opportunity and we will see how it goes.”

The McCullagh's sunflower crop is looking great.

The McCullagh's sunflower crop is looking great.

He said he plans to harvest the first of the crop in the middle of July.

While the prices are strong, he said he will be storing it in silos and selling it in smaller lots.

For winter, the McCullaghs will plant about 800ha of chickpea.

They will predominantly plant Kyabra, however are trialling 240ha of PBA Seamer which is commercially available for the first time this year.

The chickpea will be half dryland, half irrigated, and Mr McCullagh said he has high hopes for the crop.

“Last year we yielded well, the quality was good, and the price was good as well,” he said. 

The story Birdseed a niche market first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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