Spring has well and truly sprung at the McLennan family’s ‘Connen Hill’ property on Braidwood Rd.
A 55-hectare crop of the Hyola -970CL canola strain is just the outward showing of a healthy season.
The 2000ha property, which the family has owned since 1975, has received about 600mm of rain this year.
“We’ve fared well west of the range and our soil has held up well from the higher rainfall thanks to good drainage,” Austin McLennan said.
“We have areas of water-logging but there’s a lot of pasture feed for our stock which is setting us up well for the spring.
“The season is shaping up to be one of the best but things can change quickly with hot, dry winds.”
Connen Hill runs 4500 Merino ewes and grows oats, wheat and lucerne.
Mr McLennan said canola, grown at the property since 2010, was chosen not only for its oil seed yield but grazing possibilities. It’s handy fodder to finish off Merino wether lambs and a significant value adder.
The crop is planted in April and harvested in November/December.
“Out of all the crops it certainly offers one of the best returns,” Mr McLennan said.
Graziers elsewhere on Braidwood Rd and at Wollogorang on the Federal Highway are also growing canola.
While rain has been plentiful, Austin’s father Ian would like red tape cut enabling greater water capture.
Under the Farm Dams policy, he says the basic rule is that properties can only capture 10 per cent of rain falling. Connen Hill’s is seven per cent, or about 70 megalitres annually.
But if allowed to build a dam on a third-order stream, the property could retain more of this year’s drop, which otherwise flowed to Sydney.
“A lot of people don’t think about it but it’s the obvious thing to do,” Ian said.
“It would give us more stock water and if everyone had a dam on a watercourse it would give them more for irrigation.”
But he said so far the powers that be weren’t listening to the argument.
Meantime, Guy Milson of ‘Cardross’ west of Goulburn is predicting a “wonderful season.”
“It will be one of the great springs and we have a reasonable confluence of circumstances with rising soil temperatures and good prices, so there’s a reason for optimism.
‘Cardross’ has recorded about 32 inches of rain this year, about six inches above the norm.
The Milsons Roslyn property has registered even more.
“It’s great to see everyone optimistic and that’s reflected in the fact they’re buying more equipment and such,” Mr Milson said.