Weather stars fail to line up at Orion

Bradleys averaging 1.6t/ha from winter wheat at Orion, Springsure

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Peter Bradley examining the wheat crop on their Lindley Downs property at Orion, near Springsure.

Peter Bradley examining the wheat crop on their Lindley Downs property at Orion, near Springsure.

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For a late-planted wheat crop making use of moisture left over from rain in January and February, a result of 1.6 tonnes to the hectare is as good as the Bradley family at Lindley Downs, Orion, near Springsure, was expecting.

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For a late-planted wheat crop making use of moisture left over from rain in January and February, a result of 1.6 tonnes to the hectare is as good as the Bradley family at Lindley Downs, Orion, near Springsure, was expecting.

"That's pretty good, considering it went in late, mid to late June rather than when we normally plant, between April and mid-May, and there was no in-crop rain," Luke Bradley said.

They planted a little over 1200ha of Mustang, probably a little less than they would normally put in, describing it as more an opportunity crop than a scheduled one.

"It was about getting stubble cover back, in anticipation of the big wet that may or may not eventuate," Mr Bradley said.

"I'm on both sides of the fence when I look at the results of our wheat crop.

"We could have held off and still have the water, but I'm glad we've got the money in the bank.

"We've got four full-time staff and so they're getting paid - it keeps things turning over in the community.

"Our time for better seasons will come."

Thanks to a lack of in-crop rain the Mustang wheat crop is averaging 1.6 tonnes to the hectare, but the Bradleys say it's not bad for an opportunity crop.

Thanks to a lack of in-crop rain the Mustang wheat crop is averaging 1.6 tonnes to the hectare, but the Bradleys say it's not bad for an opportunity crop.

It's a better outcome than their summer sorghum and corn crops, which Mr Bradley said had been "not very good".

Mr Bradley said to his knowledge from conversations with other growers, crop yields were wildly variable across central and southern parts of the state.

"I believe there are some really good chickpea results using stored moisture in central Queensland," he said.

"And in the North Burnett, they're probably a little different, they do hay as well as grain, and are easily doing 10t/ha in places.

"It was so thick they could hardly get the mower through it.

"On the other hand there are places with oats crops that have got cattle in it."

The variability was typical of the seasons Queensland has been having, he believed, adding that he hoped the Bureau of Meteorology went ahead with plans to help growers better interpret their forecasts.

He said he'd taken part in a BoM hook-up where the problem of looking at precipitation rather than the total climate was discussed.

"The decisions we're making are costing us hundreds of thousands of dollars so I hope they do spend this money," he said, acknowledging that part of the issue may be that growers were looking for what they wanted to see.

Despite being in the middle of his winter harvest, Mr Bradley is preparing for the summer ahead, which on Lindley Downs will consist of mung bean and cow pea crops grown for seed.

They may access underground water to grow it.

"I'm anticipating there will be lots of sorghum grown in dryland areas," he said.

The story Weather stars fail to line up at Orion first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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