Soy bean yields mixed
THE Northern Rivers soy bean harvest is under way with mixed yields being reported across the region.
“It’s been an eight out of 10 year for us,” Mallanganee farmer Stuart Larsson said.
“For some farmers it has been a 10 out of 10 year.”
However, some crops to the east of the Richmond Range have suffered due to high rainfall shortly after planting.
Crops became water logged, putting the plants under stress and then the insects moved in.
Kyogle soy farmer Richard Vary has two plantings of soy beans, one in Kyogle and one halfway between Kyogle and Casino.
He said the yield, so far, was mixed.
“Some is good, some is not,” he said.
He agreed rainfall at the wrong time had affected the yield.
Shannonbrook soy grower Stephen Handford has also had a bad year on his 32-hectare farm.
His property was hit by a hailstorm on January 27, just a couple of weeks after planting. The soy had already begun to sprout.
“It got belted,” Mr Handford said.
What is left of the crop has failed to thrive and is now about 30cm high when it should be about 120cm.
Mr Handford is hoping when he begins harvesting in about two weeks time, the yield will cover the cost of planting this year’s crop, about $15,000.
“It’s touch and go,” Mr Handford said.
The soy price has dropped back to about $400 per tonne from a high of about $600 earlier in the year.
Fortunately, Mr Handford has a day job at the Northern Co-operative Meatworks, so he will be able to get by.
Mr Larsson has about 485 hectares under soy and was one of the pioneers of the crop in the Northern Rivers.
The beef price crash in the early 1970s was the catalyst for change.
“We had to find something else,” he said.
About 80pc of the soy he grows is certified organic and is exported to Korea and Japan for human consumption.
Mr Larsson also runs a soy processing mill.