CANOLA prices might be on a downward trend but farmers were still smiling around Hamilton last week.
Brothers Andrew and Paul Nagorcka were harvesting windrowed canola near Hamilton and reported yields of 2.5 tonnes in late-season variety crops sown at the end of May.
An earlier TT canola crop yielded 3.5 tonnes per hectare on their home property at Tarrington, east of Hamilton.
"We've never had a 3.5-tonne crop before," Paul said. "It was a good crop on good ground with no weak or waterlogged patches."
The Nagorcka's do most of their cropping on raised beds, giving them greater flexibility on paddock choice.
Canola was $525/tonne delivered to Portland last week, down from $540/tonne two weeks ago, but Paul was not too concerned.
"It's on a downward trend but anything over $500 a tonne is good for us with a 2.5/tonne/ha crop."
Paul said most district canola crops were yielding above expectations and the seed oil content had also been high. The oil content of the crop the brothers were harvesting last week was around 44 per cent, while at home results have been up to 48 per cent.
"We're rapt with that because you get a bit of a bonus on price."
Paul said not many district farmers were harvesting cereal grains yet.
With prime lamb prices down, the crop margins might best livestock returns this year, but the Nagorckas also have 4000 lambs to be shorn in January before finishing on summer crops for marketing in February-March.
A Graincorp spokesman said the state was heading toward an average-sized canola crop this year, with generally good yields and oil content results, though receivals were down in the Mallee due to the dry season.
"The fact that they turned out a crop in such a challenging year is a pretty good outcome," he said.