Weed spray programs in full swing around Parkes after high rainfall during January

WEEDS GROWING AT FAST RATE THROUGH PARKES AND PEAK HILL FARMS: Mathew Barklimore inspects fleabane with AgriWest Rural Parkes agronomist Harry Middlebrook, at Keilor, Parkes.
WEEDS GROWING AT FAST RATE THROUGH PARKES AND PEAK HILL FARMS: Mathew Barklimore inspects fleabane with AgriWest Rural Parkes agronomist Harry Middlebrook, at Keilor, Parkes.

WELL over 90 per cent of paddocks in the Parkes district have had their first fallow spray, according to AgriWest Parkes manager, Greg Miller.

"Probably those canola crops hit by hail before harvest would have their second spray by now," he said.

"There's some fleabane and windmill grass about, but nothing out of the ordinary in the weed front at present.

"But the speed at which weeds are growing is more significant this summer. Rain and recent storms here and towards Peak Hill produced upwards of 150 millimetres already this year.

"Melons are growing from the size of your hand to leading long runners in 10 days."

There had been a fair bit of glyphosate mixes already sprayed and with fleabane, a lot of the Group Gs had been used to spike in the mixes.

Mr Miller said one big issue this season will be the significant amount of stubble which rigs would have to get through.

"We haven't had that problems in the past couple of years though," he said.

There hadn't been a big inquiry for seed as yet because the harvest dragged on so long and everyone's got a bit of feed and grain and plenty of hope at tis time, he said.

"The only exception may be canola seed, especially hybrid types.

"Maybe due to farmers wanting to get through cereal stubble as hybrids with their seeding vigour have a lot better strike rate coming through that sort of system."

Mr Miller said there was quite a good moisture profile in most areas.

"We've had up to 150mm in some areas don to 10mm in others, but water has been trapped on-farm this year, so a lot of farmers with good fallow will be looking at coming into this season with a full profile."

At Keilor, Gunningbland, Tony and Lynelle Barklimore and son, Mathew have sprayed once and now wait for another rain event before another.

Cropping 2000 hectares on the mixed-farming property will be the same as last season.

"Last year we grew wheat, barley and canola as the main crops," Mathew Barklimore said.

"But this year we need to take the pressure off canola a bit so we'll add chickpeas and lupins in the mix with 20pc these with wheat, barley and canola."

Inspecting a stubble paddock of kittyhawk wheat, Mr Barklimore said they had double-knocked 33pc of their program.

"With paddocks like this we'll leave for more volunteers (weeds) to come up and hit again after the next rain."

The Barklimores ran some 300 cattle breeders up to the drought, but sold them early, then traded lambs.

Now they have 162 Angus cows to join to Limousin bulls, but cut back to 100, plus 500 wether lambs and 500 Merino ewes they aim to breed up to 1000.

In other rural news, the extraordinary prices offered at last week's prime cattle sales certainly flushed a few more numbers out of the paddocks, but a lack of supply continues to drive the cost of cattle to record highs.