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Plan ahead and book seed supplies early for 2019

Farmers are being warned of a potential shortage of seed supplies and are advised to book in now so they can plant fodder crops in 2019.

Central Tablelands Local Land Services’ Senior Land Services Officer, Phil Cranney, is urging farmers to start planning ahead now, rather than waiting to see if it rains in the New Year.

“For oats, barley, triticale and other dual purpose crops, seed is currently in very short supply due to drought conditions across the Eastern States,” says Phil.

In the higher areas of the Tablelands around Orange and Blayney, Phil reports there are winter oat crops that could make it to harvest, however yields will be low without further rain.

Some successful crops are also expected to reach harvest in southern NSW and Victoria, but Phil advises there is a real risk of supplies running low ahead of autumn sowing in 2019.

“If rain arrives in time, farmers on the Central Tablelands could sow fodder crops as early as February, so we’re advising farmers to book seed early. Don’t wait till December or January as supplies could run out.”

Seasonal forecasts for the coming summer are increasingly suggesting hotter, drier conditions are likely, meaning farmers will need supplementary feed for livestock for many months to come.

According to Phil, planning is more important than ever in a tough season, and smart operators will already be calculating feed budgets and locking in seed supplies for fodder crops, and forward contracts for livestock.

“If you’ve been lucky enough to get some rain so far this spring, now is not the time for complacency. Having seed ready for planting, will provide some insurance against winter feed shortages.”

“If your paddocks are still dry, planning ahead, and making calculations now about how much feed you will need to buy in, as well as setting trigger points to sell off stock before they lose condition, will likely make a significant difference to how well your farming business will survive through an ongoing dry spell,” says Phil.

Acting early to lock in forward contracts for lambs and other livestock can also be extremely useful in terms of planning the farm budget.

“Livestock prices are still very strong and many producers are taking advantage of forward contracts and supplementary feeding options to ensure cash flow continues despite the drought.”

“Again, planning is important, as abattoir space is filling quickly and producers would be wise to book kill space sooner rather than later,” warned Phil.

For further advice on fodder conservation and supplementary feed supplies contact your nearest Central Tablelands Local Land Services office in Bathurst, Cowra, Lithgow, Molong, Mudgee or Orange.