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Wool producers try their hands at cropping

Brett Worthington, Tuesday September 3, 2013 - 11:55 EST

Last year's Queensland floods look set to offer a cash splash for wool producers.

As the water flowed south, it filled dried lakebeds throughout New South Wales.

After the lakes dried, farmers had one chance to crop the now fertile-soil.

Wool and cattle producers Mark and Lindy Withers, from the Darling Anabranch in south-west New South Wales, planted their first crops in more than a decade.

Mr Withers, a fifth generation farmer at Woodlands station, says his family has cropped the lake since the 1970s.

He says farmers can crop lakes once after a flood has filled them.

"One time the lakebeds were regarded as waste country and when they're dry they certainly are - they are bare and you can't run stock of them," Mr Withers said.

"But in the '70s some share farmers started off and put some crops in with varying degrees of success."

The Withers' last lakebed crop was after a flood in 1998.

The family has invested in extra shedding and machinery from the United States to plant and harvest their new wheat, barely and hay crops.

"We did pick and choose different varieties, mainly to get some in early so that we could spread our sewing time out and then harvest time out," Mr Withers said.

"Some of the earlier varieties are yellowing off a bit. I think from now on we need to think about putting some inputs back into the soil."


© ABC 2013

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