Rain boost for canola crop

Cally Dupe and Bob GarnantCountryman
Katanning farmers Digby and Chris Patterson with their canola.
Camera IconKatanning farmers Digby and Chris Patterson with their canola. Credit: Bob Garnant

A bolstered canola program is up and racing at the Pattersons’ family farm in Katanning, with crops looking lively after recent rainfall.

Family members were busy this week, drafting sheep ahead of shearing after finishing seeding on May 28.

The prominent sheep producers, who run Woolkabin Merino stud, defied a WA trend and upped their canola plantings this year, to stick with their cereal and oilseed rotation.

All of their crops are out of the ground, with 26mm of rainfall last weekend a welcome surprise.

“We are still feeling confident, we have had enough rain to keep us going,” Chris said. “We seeded a bit more canola than usual, but we had it all seeded by April 12 ... we just stuck to the rotation.

“I am a bit cautious of canola, it is an expensive seed but we like it for weed control.”

The Patterson family operation includes husband and wife team Chris and Carole, and their two sons Tom and Digby. Their daughter Hannah lives in Perth.

It has been a homecoming for Digby, 21, who recently returned to the property after completing an agricultural science degree at UWA last year.

The farmers planted 1000ha of GT53 GM canola in April, sticking to their traditional rotation.

Their other varieties included Sceptre wheat, and Spartacus, Planet and Scope barley.

“We were lucky to receive 60mm in March, which gave us a good drenching ...” Chris said.

As well as cereals and oilseeds, they also plant 600ha of pastures, mostly ryegrass and vetch, which was “really important” for the sheep.

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