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TAS Country : February 9th 2012
Friday, February 10, 2012 Tasmanian Country 5 News Weather relief for farmers KAROLIN MacGREGOR HOPEFUL: The weather is a relief for farmers who suffered major crop losses last year. Picture: CHRIS KIDD Conditions ideal for harvest season WEEKS of hot dry weather have been exactly what Tasmania's cropping far- mers were hoping for as the state's harvest season continues. While a storm in the state's north earlier this week caused some damage to poppy crops, for most of this year's harvest, farmers have enjoyed ideal conditions. This year's weather has come as a relief to many farmers who suffered major crop losses last year after record summer rains. GlaxoSmithKline research and field operations manager Mike Doyle said while crops were hit with wet and windy conditions earlier this week, the company's growth regulator program has paid off. ''Thankfully we haven't seen the disaster that we saw last year,'' he said. ''The growth regulator program we run now seems to be working well . . . the poppies aren't as tall and they've got a bit more stem thickness and less seed which makes them less top heavy and not as susceptible to lodging.'' The company is now about half way through this year's harvest and Mr Doyle said with some good weather it could be finished within the next couple of weeks. ''It's always a big relief to get them off, and if we get the right weather, I think we'll have it wrapped up pretty quickly,'' he said. Tasmanian Alkaloids field oper- ations manager Rick Rockliff said some of the company's crops had been affected by Sunday night's storm, but they were working hard to get crops off as quickly as possible. ''We know there are some frustrated farmers out there at the moment and we understand that, but we can't be everywhere at once and we're trying to get through the crops as quickly as we can, but they have to be ready before we can harvest them,'' he said. Mr Rockliff said despite last week- end's storm, the weather so far had been ideal for harvesting. ''It's certainly a lot better than this time last year.'' he said. ''We've been starting to get some figures coming through and we've got one crop that had an assay of 5 per cent so there could be some pretty good yields and returns for growers this year.'' The company is also about half way though this year's crops and Mr Rockliff said they were aiming to have the harvest completed by the end of the month. For vegetable growers, the season has also been a huge improvement on last year. Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association vegetable council chair- man Andrew Craigie said most growers were pleased with how the season was shaping up so far. ''There are certainly a lot more happy people around than there were this time last year,'' he said. ''The season has been pretty kind to us so far and hopefully that will continue.'' Mr Craigie said most of the state's pea crops had now been harvested and the bean harvest was now in full swing. Some early potato crops are also now being dug. ''Really, most harvesting hasn't really been stopped by bad weather since before Christmas, so that's been really good,'' he said. The state's cereal harvest has also been benefiting from the warm, dry conditions in recent weeks. David Skipper from grower-owned grain co-op Tasmanian Agricultural Producers, said yields and quality in the state's wheat and early barley crops were excellent. ''The weather for harvesting has been really good and we had some really well-timed rains in spring which finished the crops off, so yields and quality, particularly in the wheat crops has been excellent,'' he said. ''The quality of the malt barley has been really high as well.'' Mr Skipper said with early barley crops and wheat now in the silos, it was just a matter of waiting until the later sown barley crops were ready. ''There has been a little bit of rain this week, but I don't think it's done much damage,'' he said. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) ABN 11 005 357 522. ANZ s colour blue is a trade mark of ANZ. ARC0012/TSC anz.com/inasia Do more than bank in Asia. Do business. ANZ connects you, wherever you re doing business across regional Australia and Asia Pacific. Contact James McKeefry on 0423 024 503.
February 2nd 2012
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