Budgets for northern NSW winter crops released

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 1st April 2008

Farmers planning to get the best returns on a winter crop this season are advised to get their hands on the latest copy of NSW Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) 2008 Gross Margin Budgets for Winter Crops for Northern New South Wales.

Changes to input costs and market conditions will make it even harder to decide on the cropping mix this year and budgeting may provide the answers.

Produced annually, the budgets are a guide to the costs and returns associated with major broadacre winter crop enterprises, with spray-irrigated chickpeas added this year in response to grower demand.

A range of yield and price outcomes for both dryland and irrigated crops has been provided so that growers can see the effects of lower yield potential and/or variable prices on profitability.

While the budgets have traditionally been used to guide farmers’ decisions, they are likely to be even more valuable this year, according to NSW DPI economist Fiona Scott.

“Input prices are increasing and market conditions for many commodities have new factors underpinning them, making predictions for harvest 2008 problematical,” Ms Scott said.

“Therefore, awareness of the range of costs and returns is crucial to assessing potential profitability, and risk management.

“There may be a temptation to reduce fertiliser rates but this may be a false economy given current commodity prices.

“If soil moisture reserves are good, consider if yield and therefore income is likely to be foregone by slashing fertiliser rates.”

The gross margin budgets routinely feature long fallow wheat, short fallow wheat in rotation after either wheat, chickpeas or canola, durum wheat, barley (malting and feed), oats, wheat and oats for grazing and grain, chickpeas, faba beans, field peas, lupins, safflower, linseed and lucerne establishment.

Furrow-irrigated chickpeas were added last year, with spray-irrigated chickpeas included this year for the first time.

Copies of the 2008 Gross Margin Budgets for Winter Crops for Northern New South Wales are available from NSW DPI offices throughout the north, and via the internet.

Further information is available from Fiona Scott, NSW DPI Economist at Tamworth Agricultural Institute on 6763 1156.