Summer planting slow start

SUMMER CROP PREVIEW: Russ Salisbury gets ready for planting in the next two weeks.
SUMMER CROP PREVIEW: Russ Salisbury gets ready for planting in the next two weeks. Jack Lawrie

SUMMER planting season is underway in the Burnett, but farmers are concerned the sporadic rainfall won't be enough.

Mungbean, sorghum and a small amount of corn are looking to be the main summer crop in the Monto area, with the formers' current strong market price making it an attractive option to growers.

Farmer Russ Salisbury said most properties are low on subsoil moisture, meaning there isn't enough in the current rain levels the area has been receiving.

"It could all change within a day depending on the weather, so time will tell," Mr Salisbury said.

"Some irrigation farmers have already started; my farm will begin planting next week."

According to Weatherzone records, the average rainfall in the Monto region is 112.3mm in January over roughly 9.9 days.

While it's too soon to tell how it will stack up until the end of the month, records show the area has had 6 days of showers already, producing a total of 30.5mm across the region.

Unless things pick up soon, most farmers in the area are unlikely to be able to plant without irrigation.

Mr Salisbury said those who hadn't already done so would need to start planting soon or miss the window for the season.

"Two to four inches of rain would be a good start for planting, plus some follow-up once it's in the ground," Mr Salisbury said.

"We've only got another month to get this crop in the ground before it's too late."

At this point, most of the farmers in the area who have made a start have had to rely on irrigation.

Farmer Brad Forsyth is one of a few farmers to have already made a start on planting, putting in 160 acres of mungbean.

Last Friday, his property received 12mm of rain.

"It was good on what we just planted, but we're hoping we get more," Mr Forsyth said.

"We've got 170 acres of corn to plant; we're trying to get it in and away early over the next few weeks."

Mr Forsyth said they were prepared to rely on irrigation if they had to.

Mungbeans are a hundred day crop to harvest, relatively quick but making maintenance crucial.

FarmStuff agronomist Kendall Muller said providing the rain comes in, it should get the best results.

"The main thing is to keep them planted in the clean country and keep them sprayed for insects," Mr Muller said.

"For corn, as long as there's adequate moisture and nutrition to ensure there's half a crop and keep the weeds under control, it should be fine."

Mungbean typically requires a larger amount of crop space to plant due to lower yields, good rainfall and high maintenance.

But the rewards are potentially worth it, as mungbean currently goes for around $1100 a tonne.

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