CANOLA production across the Wimmera is expected to be down this season.
Grain Producers Australia chairman and Rupanyup farmer Andrew Weidemann said a poor weather outlook and shortage of seeds were some of the reasons why farmers steered away from planting the crop.
“Canola production will be well down this year. A lot of farmers didn’t end up sowing canola because the lack of rain on the outlook,” he said.
“There was shortage of canola seeds this year too, however I understand that those seeds became available just at the time of sowing.
“So things happened differently to what we had initially expected and predicted. They went from having a shortage of seeds to having an oversupply.”
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He said the lack of canola would affect next year’s crop.
“The supply of seed will be an ongoing issue, especially for those who are wanting it for next year’s season,” he said.
“We will need pretty significant rainfall in the spring to see canola cropping up around the region. We’re all looking ahead to August because that will be when the pressure is on and we’ll really need to see that rainfall.
“A lot of canola will probably end up being used for hay if there’s not enough rain. Most of the canola will be from further south, between Hamilton and Geelong. They are getting that extra rain.”
However, Mr Weidemann said the Wimmera was still in a good spot to produce significant crops this year.
“We’re actually looking pretty good. In fact we might be in the best position between here and all the way to Wagga Wagga,” he said.
“However we are about four weeks behind from where we would usually be. The extremely low temperatures means we haven’t seen a lot of growth.”
He said there was no way to tell whether growers could see frost damage similar to last year’s occurrence.
“Frost will unfortunately be something that we might have to contend with once again,” he said.
“Hopefully we don’t, but it’s too early to tell either way.”
Victorian Farmers Federation Grains Group president Brett Hosking said the farmers he had talked to were predicting lower production levels than last year.
“There’s no reason for panic, but lower levels than usual can be expected,” he said.
“It hasn’t been an ideal season and less crop went in the ground due to market signals and the outlook.
“Every year the pressure is on for the new generation of canola seeds and growers need to get in early to order it before the next season arrives.”
Speaking to Fairfax Media in April, Australian Oilseeds Federation chief executive officer Nick Goddard said his organisation expected slightly smaller canola numbers due to unfavourable climatic conditions.