NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair has met with NSW DPI researchers at a canola trial site in the State’s west to see research that aims to give new tools to crop producers currently facing challenging conditions.
“At this time of year, Western NSW is famous for fields of gold but unfortunately an unusually dry winter and frequent frosts has meant crops aren’t doing as well as producers had been hoping for,” Mr Blair said.
“What I’m hearing from producers is they are reaching a point where they need to make some tough decisions.
“Farmers will be watching closely and hoping for some rain to help make their crops shine into harvest.
“The oilseed crop in NSW was worth more than $500 million in gross value of production in 2016-17, which was an increase on the previous year’s result. It’s too early to tell what effect these winter conditions will have on the crop, but there will be some impact.
“The NSW Government is committed to doing what it can to help ease the pain when tough conditions strike and this research will go a long way in making sure farmers have the best advice in order to get through the season.”
DPI Research and Development Agronomist Dryland Colin McMaster said the trial site was testing the effects of early sowing and precision seeding on canola, as well as response rates of canola and pulse crops for different levels of phosphorous in the soil.
“We’re finding that our current no-till farming methods are requiring more phosphorus fertiliser than the previous methods that relied heavily on cultivation,” Mr McMaster said.
“We’re trying to find a balance – how often should we strategically plough, and how deep should that be done, so that we get the fertiliser down to the roots of the plants where it can be used.”
Mr Blair encouraged producers to stay in touch with local advisory services and the Rural Assistance Authority (RAA) to make informed decisions on how to proceed with their crops.
“The plight of our farmers will always be a top priority for this Government, and we’ll continue this important work to support our crop growers, and primary producers across the State,” Mr Blair said.
“DPI has a long track record of innovation that has boosted our agricultural bottom line and the RAA has a range of loans and grants that can help when conditions are tough.”
Source: NSW DPI