GRAIN harvest is in full swing on the Southern Downs, and growers are recording mixed results, with the continued dry taking its toll on yields across the board.
Clifton grain grower Layton Free said generally it had been a pretty disappointing harvest.
"At planting time, it was too wet to get the seed in the ground," Mr Free said.
There are a few people happy with their yields but generally most growers around here are disappointed.
"And, when the last of the crop was planted, it got dry and we just never got the rain we needed at the right time," he said.
Farming a total of 1214ha at his home property, Colliery Park, Mr Free said he didn't get in a lot of winter crop, only planting approximately 220ha - half barley, half wheat.
"We did get some late barley in, which went about 3.7t/ha, but the wheat was fairly dismal only yielding about 1.8t/ha," he said.
"It seems that barley performs better under dry conditions than wheat."
To supplement the farm income, Mr Free also does contract harvesting which this year has taken him into western Queensland and northern New South Wales.
"I've seen some very nice crops in the west.
"They seem to have fared better than us," he said.
"There are a few people happy with their yields but generally most growers around here are disappointed.
"The prices are better this year but the returns per acre are pretty ordinary."
Andrew Gilmore, of Westlyn, Spring Creek, is set to harvest 101ha of winter crop this week.
"We had a bit of rain on Sunday, but should be ready to harvest today," Mr Gilmore said.
"If we get a good fine week, the harvest in this area of the Downs will be finished by the end of this week," he predicted.
Mr Gilmore planted 40ha of wheat, 40ha of barley and 20ha of chickpeas.
"I believe it will yield about 3t/ha for wheat, 2.5t/ha for barley, and chickpeas about 1.2t/ha," he said.
"There are not a lot of chickpeas grown around here.
"I grow them mainly to put nitrogen back into my country.
"The price could be around $480 per tonne."
The only shining light about this season's harvest is that the prices are reasonable, according to Mr Gilmore.
"While the yields are back, the prices are better, with barley selling for $255 per tonne, on farm, and wheat about $270 per tonne," he said.
Agronomist Craig Blackett, of Raff Farm Supplies, said unfortunately most growers were reasonably disappointed in the yields and quality of their winter crops.
"After a few wet years, many grain growers were hoping for a better year," Mr Blackett said.
"But it wasn't to be.
"Protein was down and yields were down.
"And there were a lot of white heads that didn't fill.
"The grain size was small, due mainly to the hot dry finish to the season."
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