Farmer Focus: BIll Davey is frustrated by irrigation problems

The Canterbury Plains are looking good thanks to a wettish end to September.

Wheats in particular are rapidly approaching GS32 and are due a second application of chlormequat plus a further 250ml/ha of Opus (epoxiconazole). Urea, based on our soil nitrogen reserves, will be applied in front of the irrigators should it stay dry.

Just when you think everything is under control the insurance broker rings to remind us the hail season is approaching. After a couple of near misses last season and not having been insured I feel we should at least take out some crop cover, particularly on our higher value crops such as the seed brassicas.

The mounting frustration among farmers, caused by our regional council Environment Canterbury‘s reluctance to allocate further consents to take and use groundwater for irrigation, may all be about to change. The council’s chairman recently lost his position in a vote of no confidence, over what was generally seen as a split on the council over water issues. His successor appears to take a very different view and it looks likely that E-Can will now be fully supporting water storage facilities for farm irrigation. It is to be hoped that he is a man of his word because he’s under the spotlight, believe me.

With global demand for food set to double by 2050, New Zealand, along with its plentiful supply of ground water if managed carefully, will be in a strong position to provide a proportion of the projected demand.

The last of our store lambs have finished in perfect time, allowing us to close up the grass seed paddocks for seed production. We have fattened just over 9000 to 47kg liveweight this season compared to 11,600 to 43kg last year. It has been one of the best seasons we have had here.

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