Drought pushing up the price of water is making the situation untenable for Coleambally’s summer grain and bean crops, driving farmers towards a flooded vegetable market.
Tuesday’s rain did bring a brief moment of respite for Coly’s farmers, with Neill Wiseman from Wiseman's Organic Farm reporting ‘about 25 millimeters’ having fallen on his property.
“The rain has helped, we have some late winter crops chickpeas and bit of wheat and it will help immensely,” Mr Wiseman said.
Still Mr Wiseman insists the current price of water has made maintaining a summer crop of corn and soybeans untenable.
“Because the water is so dear we are not doing any summer crops, we normally do soybeans and corn, but it’s not viable with water at (over) $400 a meg,” Mr Wiseman said.
“We have planted seven or eight paddocks with cover crops and that will lay through the summer and hopefully will build up moisture.”
For veggies, Nature’s Haven owner Brendan Murray owner said the general lack of rain has also been highly destructive for his zucchini crops.
On Tuesday, Mr Murray said “ today’s rain will mean I wont have to water today but I will have to water tomorrow because it won’t penetrate deep enough into the ground.”
Having already bought 40 megalitres of additional water in the October to November period Mr Murray said he will be tossing up regulating his crops and reducing his harvest in order to avoid having to buy more water.
“The biggest challenge is when there is drought every one grows vegetables because they think they will get a bigger return per megalitre of water but it floods the market and quite often they can’t sell,” Mr Murray said.
“It’s happened with our zucchinis the current price is the lowest I’ve seen in 15 years, there are probably seven other zucchini growers in the South East, usually there's only five, I wouldn't class (the new two) as big growers but they’re big enough to drive the prices down.”
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