The area surrounding Rupanyup is a rich source of quality grains, legumes and oilseeds, that are eagerly sought for both the Australian and international markets.
Spring is the season for hay production and the large bales are destined for the dairy, feed and livestock and export industries.
Companies that have grown with the agricultural sector include Wimmera Grain Company, a major processor of legumes and grains and Emmett’s, a large supplier of machinery.
The farming sector boasts international best practice in production methods which includes use of technology. The region’s farmers have earned the reputation of being amongst the most advanced in the world because of their ability to enthusiastically embrace the latest in available agribusiness technology.
The Rupanyup district is well known for its rich black self-mulching clay soils, which is the ideal environment for growing winter crops. Many varieties of crops are grown in the area including cereals – wheat, barley, oats; legumes – peas, beans, chickpeas; lentils; lupins; and oilseeds – canola, safflower. There is also a recent trend of growing cereals for hay, with some export businesses established in the region.
Farms are generally family run businesses, with one, two or even three generations of the family working on the farm. With the implementation of the G.S.T. in 2000, many farming wives are quite adapt at bookkeeping, while also working off-farm to provide a stable income in these hard times. The children are often able to help with many of the farm duties.
Rupanyup farmers are beginning to embrace state-of-the-art technology by installing Global Positioning Systems in their machinery, which enables them to sow, spray & harvest with precision, avoiding overlapping and wasting expensive chemicals and fuel.
This also enables them to use the inter-row method of sowing, where this season’s crop is planted between the rows of last season’s stubble, thus doing away with the need to work up the paddock & lose valuable moisture.
More and more farmers in the area are moving towards low-till, minimum-till and no-till methods of cropping, which in our drought affected climate, will hopefully help preserve moisture and give the crops a better chance of surviving the dry.
Over recent years, farming in the area has changed greatly, moving from working the ground several times to kill weeds, to using chemicals to kill the weeds and not disturbing the soil structure.
Much of our wheat grown in the area is used in the noodle, bread and biscuit market; our barley for beer and stock feed; and many of our lentils and chickpeas exported to the Middle East, India subcontinent & Europe.
Sowing takes place in May/June, with the smell of freshly tilled soil after a nice rain being second to none; and there’s no better sight than the neat rows of green shoots of barley or wheat emerging from the fertile black soil.
Many visitors to the area are amazed by the paddocks of yellow canola flowers around October – a magnificent sight and popular among photographers.
Harvest is usually November/December in the very hot, dry Wimmera climate, with temperatures generally in the high 30’s and low 40’s.
Whilst cropping is the main focus in the area, many farmers also have sheep. With the piping of the Wimmera-Mallee Channel System well underway, a sure supply of quality water will aid those wanting to expand their livestock enterprise.