Aerial spraying now the norm

Elders agronomist Mitch Dwyer with one of six aircraft run by Fred Fahey Aerial Services, Cowra, working flat out over crops this wet winter.
Elders agronomist Mitch Dwyer with one of six aircraft run by Fred Fahey Aerial Services, Cowra, working flat out over crops this wet winter.

Rain virtually every Thursday and Friday for the past month or so and some good falls before and between have made most local paddocks impossible to work on this winter forcing croppers to call in aerial assistance as spray rigs and fertiliser spreaders risk bogging.

Canowindra and Cowra has received more than 20mm of rain so far this month with between 10 and 20mm again expected next weekend.

Elders Cowra agronomist Mitch Dwyer believes that while the season parallels somewhat to last year during the winter crop growing season, the continual precipitation, although always welcome, is limiting crop nourishment and increasing disease potential.

Despite this Dwyer believes we're still on track for a better than average season.

"Obviously we'd like it to dry out a little bit so we can start getting back on to paddocks and do vital top dressing but any time we have a good set-up like this in July it still gives us plenty of time at the back end for it to dry out and set us up for a good back end to the season," Mr Dwyer said.

To combat the wet agronomists and farmers are calling in the air spray services of Cowra-based Fred Fahey Aerial Service whose four pilots are already flat out spraying post-emergence herbicides and some disease fungicides, plus aerial urea spreading, particularly on canola.

Four sprayers and two super spreaders have been working over paddocks in the Cowra area since June.

They belong to Fred Fahey Aerial Services based at Cowra airport since 1978 and have become an integral link in crop production within the region and outside.

While different contractors are used to spray in the Canowindra area Mr Dwyer said the situation is much the same.

"It's about the same (in Canowindra)," he said of the conditions.

Paddocks, he said, "are almost impossible to get on or very hard too".

"We're now looking forward to the fungicide side (of growth) towards the back end of the season to protect flowering on canola and cereals and we're trying to plan ahead for a big aeroplane season towards the back end."

While conditions this year aren't any wetter than last year the problems faced on the land are different because of the soil profile.

"In terms of rainfall (this year's season) is about on par perhaps a little bit more," Mr Dwyer said.

"But coming out of a wetter summer the soil profile is fuller than it was last year and two years ago.

"Its presented a few more challenges in terms of growth and a slower season, they're very different years.," Mr Dwyer said.