Frosty times: September crop update for wheat, barley & chickpeas

It has been a season of ups and downs for us. We had good rain over summer but a dry April and May led to marginal planting conditions. We planted dry and were blessed with some rain in May and June which led to good establishment. We had 23mm for July and just 6mm for August. Crops have been coming along well relying on stored moisture. The mild winter meant crops we madly flowering by late August.

Moree Temperature 2013
Moree temperature 2013 (June-August)

On the 21st of August Moree Aero recorded -1.1°C followed by -0.5 and 0°C. The effect on the barley is marginal and it seems to be filling well. The chickpeas lost all their flowers but they have begun to reflower and are just now starting to set their first pods. Yield potential in the peas has been reduced but should hopefully still see a reasonable crop. The wheat has been most affected with stem frost leading to ring barking. Other tillers that are not ring barked have the head turning yellow and aborting seed set. Again other tillers seem to be OK and should produce seed. The extent of the damage is varied with higher areas less impacted. We will know more in the coming weeks and the yield map will tell the true extent.

We are now looking for a decent fall of rain the keep the crops going through to harvest. Below are a few pictures I took this morning.

Barley near & chickpeas far
Commander barley Sept 2013
Commander barley Sept 2013
Pippa in chickpeas
Pippa in chickpeas
Stem frost wheat 2013
Stem frost wheat 2013
Stem frost wheat 2013
Stem frost wheat 2013 closeup shot
Sunvale wheat September 2013
Elevated Sunvale wheat September 2013

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2013 Wheat, Barley & Chickpeas emerge

Our winter plant operation has finished for another year. We came into May with good sub-soil moisture but dry in the top 10cm. The wheat and barley was planted shallow into the dry soil. A 12mm fall of rain mid-May was enough to wet up the soil and germinate the seed. Following the rain we planted chickpeas into moisture. After finishing planting the chickpeas we had another 10mm.

We are trialling Spitfire and Suntop wheat this winter, alongside our usual Sunvale. Below are some comparisons so far.

Spitfire & Sunvale Wheat
Spitfire & Sunvale Wheat
Suntop & Spitfire Wheat
Suntop & Spitfire Wheat
Sunvale Wheat
Sunvale Wheat

And a couple pictures of our chickpeas and malt barley.

Hat-Trick Chickpeas
Hat-Trick Chickpeas
Commander Barley
Commander Barley

 

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Full Season Chickpeas Photo Log

Here is another photo log from a couple years ago. Chickpeas, once introduced as a break crop from a crop rotation dominated by cereals (i.e. wheat and barley) is now just as important and can be just as profitable as wheat and barley. Although chickpea varieties are getting better all the time they are still susceptible to water logging and disease due to too much rain. The variety used in this season was ‘Jimbour’. We have now switched to ‘Hat-Trick’.

The season was set up to be a bumper crop with great crop establishment and moisture profile but then it just kept on raining and we ended up with a lot of plant and not many peas in the pods due to water logging, disease and wind. Enjoy viewing some of the hardships of farming.

The video is me harvesting chickpeas, but not this particular crop.