Farmer Focus: Late irrigator deliveries ‘not good enough’, says Bill Davey

Memories of an exceptionally wet winter quickly fade as a week of strong north-westerly winds reminds us that the irrigation season will soon be upon us.

I was none too impressed when told that delivery of our two lateral irrigators had been delayed.

They were ordered in March, so I feel this just isn’t good enough. The American manufacturers blame unprecedented demand from countries such as China and delays in shipping components sourced from the Middle East. I am assured that we’ll be up and running by mid-November, but I’m far from happy.

Perhaps I should leave the subject of irrigation, having recently visited the Farmers Weekly website showing scenes of the UK’s “Harvest from Hell”.

I remember a few wet harvests when I farmed in England and the old saying “There’s always been a seed-time and a harvest” when the going got tough. For some farmers it would appear that may not be the case this year and my thoughts are with them.

Nor-west conditions are usually accompanied by higher temperatures, and crop growth here is phenomenal. Cereals are racing through their growth stages as are seed brassicas, and we have no option but to fly on urea as a wheeled machine would do too much crop damage.

On the economic front, it will be interesting to see what effect the financial meltdown in the USA will have on demand for our agricultural products.

Dairy prices, in particular, have already been hit, with farmers being warned to expect huge fluctuations in the value of milk solids and associated milk products.

With a general election here in early November, the looming impact of the Emissions Trading Scheme and the uncontainable rise in input costs in general, the mood here among farmers is a little more sombre than of late.

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