Ben Langtry’s face beams with pride as he describes the glowing canola crops that surround him on his family’s farm at Marrar, in the New South Wales Riverina.
“This is one of the best seasons we’ve had in a long time — it’s pretty unreal,” the fourth-generation farmer said.
“Everything looks great, and it’s only going to get better.
The reason why is simple — rain.
“We’re up to about 350 millimetres or the year —that’s 100mm in front of where we were at this stage last year,” Mr Langtry said.
“It’s sensational. Every time we need it, it just keeps raining.”
A bright sight for sore eyes
The Langtry family has been farming in the Riverina for almost a century, and their property is nestled in the heart of the region’s iconic canola trail.
Also known as the golden triangle, the trail refers to the three roads the connect the towns of Coolamon, Junee and Temora — where almost a third of all canola produced in the state comes from.
That means, for three months from August, the fields lining those roads shine brightly with yellow canola flowers.
The sight is a big drawcard for tourists, especially those keen to fill their Instagram pages with the perfect #canolatrail shot.
“It’s something we see every year, and it does mean work for us, so it’s not as exciting for us, but we do appreciate how it changes the colour of the landscape, and we love that other people enjoy it,” Mr Langtry said.
Do the right thing, farmers urge
Mr Langtry said it was vital visitors respected farmers’ fences.
“As long as they stay on the road and take a photo, that’s absolutely fine,” he said.
“But I would strongly encourage them to resist the temptation to hop over the fence and into the actual farm.
“We’ve seen it before, and it’s dangerous.
A welcome boost to the economy
Businesses in Coolamon, Junee and Temora rely heavily on tourism and visitors to the canola trail inject valuable cash into their economies, as they stop to eat, shop and visit the region’s other sights along the way.
Laura Munro, Coolamon Shire Council’s tourism officer, said in previous years visitors to the trail included people from all over Australia as well as some international travellers.
But this year, the coronavirus pandemic has dramatically altered people’s ability and willingness to travel, so businesses are depending solely on travellers from within New South Wales.
“We’re definitely seeing a lot of caravans in town and people travelling within the Riverina and even just outside the region wanting to explore their own backyard,” Ms Munro said.
“With everything going on at the moment, people seem to be really opting to travel regionally.”
Even with the potential risk to public health, Ms Munro said that was good news.
“But in saying that, we want people who do come to do the right thing.
“Respect what businesses are asking them to do. If you’re unwell, stay home — just the common sense stuff.”