[1 March 2018/NZ Farmer]

A fire ban and wet autumn and winter may have cost Mid and South Canterbury’s arable farmers more than $30 million according to Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group, Guy Wigley. The average wheat yield is about eight to twelve tonnes per hectare. Mr Wigley said that farmers look at planting at the end of March for autumn-sown wheat. An anonymous farmer said that he suffered substantial losses due to the fire ban and not being able to burn stubble and sow his crops. He believed burning stubble would have posed no threat. Mr Wigley noted that there are some alternatives to burning stubble such as ploughing or dicing, however they had to be planned for. He added that Autumn-sown crops yield more than spring-sown crops.