Rain brings confidence to farmers

Rob and Clyde Hazel have been keeping a close eye on the rain gauge out at the family’s Hawker’s Creek Farm at Kapunda.

Good soaking Autumn rains have brought smiles to farmer’s faces and some much needed optimism for a promising season ahead.

Kapunda farmer, Mr Clyde Hazel, Hawker’s Creek Farm, said whilst some say rain on ANZAC Day is a sign of a bumper year, he has always remained a little more cautious in his predictions, admitting he won’t be jumping for joy just yet.

“You do that next March when the figures come in,” said Clyde.

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That doesn’t mean the fourth generation farmer isn’t quietly thrilled to see the rain gauges across his family’s 900 hectare mixed cropping and sheep farming property filling up nicely.

“We had 73 mm for the month of April – that’s exceptional,” Clyde told The Leader.

“We’ve had 38 mm since ANZAC Day
and the day before, on April 24, we had 15 mm.”

It’s a stark contrast to the past few years which recorded below average rainfalls and one particularly dry winter.

Yet Hawker’s Creek Farm, which has been farmed by the Hazel family since 1842, continues to battle through, despite the challenging conditions.

“We’ve now got last year’s figures and we actually had quite a good year,” Clyde explained.

“Meat prices were pretty good, hay prices were very good so we’ve swung a lot to hay in the last three years and have been able to move it all.

“You move with the seasons and move with the prices. We’ve been adapting like that for as long as I can remember.

“We can do that more nowadays because we have more information. I used to think through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s we “starved through the sake of good information”, in other words we didn’t know which countries needed fava beans, for example, and what other countries had fava beans and were selling them. So, we often didn’t
have the information we really needed.

“We can make better decisions now.”

Clyde’s son Rob, who joined the family business in 2005, agrees the recent rain was “definitely” good news, especially in its timing.

“Good rainfall takes quite a bit of the guesswork out,” Rob said.

In 2019, 210 mm of rain fell in the growing season at Hawker’s Creek Farm which didn’t instil much confidence when it came to grain trading.

That feeling has since changed with the recent rainfall.

“We’re tracking way above last year,” said Rob.

“In the last two years probably 90% of our sowing was dry sown and this year, 90% will be sown in moisture.

“We’ll be confident in the grain market, if it hadn’t dropped $10 today, I would have sold wheat today.”

Rob said in the last two years they hadn’t forward sold anything.

“We are able to sell some of this year’s harvest now whereas last year we wouldn’t have because we didn’t know what we were going to get.

“This rain gives us forward self-confidence.”