HAPPY DAYS: Alloway farmer Dean Cayley was thrilled to wake up to over 100mm of rain in the gauge on Tuesday morning.
HAPPY DAYS: Alloway farmer Dean Cayley was thrilled to wake up to over 100mm of rain in the gauge on Tuesday morning. Max Fleet BUN050116DEAN5

Peanut season looking up after cane prices down

WITH 2018 now behind us, Alloway cane and peanut farmer Dean Cayley is hoping for a few inches of rain to ensure a promising start to both crops moving into 2019.

Mr Cayley said with the early peanuts planted, they were looking good with the initial rain setting the season up perfectly with some areas getting 60-100mm.

But a little more wouldn't go astray.

"We don't need 200mm, (but) three to four inches would be good," he said.

With planting beginning from the middle of September Mr Cayley said peanuts, depending on their variety were a 20-24-week crop.

He said peanuts were a great rotation crop, especially given last year's cane season.

Not only would the peanuts give the soil a break, but Mr Cayley said it would also inject a bit of cash for producers, after cane's price being "below the cost of production".

Planting about 25ha of peanuts, he said they'd be looking at 140 tonne, but that was a small crop.

For the bigger growers, Mr Cayley said they could be planting upwards of 150ha of peanuts.

He said looking at the price for peanuts was "really really good", particularly with Bega's influence.

Mr Cayley said since they visited the Bundaberg region encouraging the growth of more peanuts, there's a lot of confidence back in the industry.

Towards the end of June director Max Roberts, CEO Paul Van Heerwaarden, operations manager for Bega Foods Peter Watt and Peanut Company of Australia supply manager Lionel Wiek were at Brothers Sports Club delve into their vision for the peanut industry with local growers.

At the meeting, Mr Roberts said on the Bega peanut butter range they want it to read 100 per cent Australian peanuts.

Mr Cayley said for the current rotations, some local producers had planted crops other than peanuts.

He said some growers have planted soy beans for their rotation which was likewise well under way and would be harvested around Anzac Day.

Mr Cayley said having a rotation goes away from the monoculture and provides the ground with a break, but getting that few extra inches would make a hell of a difference to growers.

Mikayla Haupt