Rain lifts expectations

September 15, 2017

Cropping farmers are optimistic following good August rainfall, with yields expected to be buoyed.

Elmore mixed farmer David Trewick, who produces wheat, barley, canola, oaten hay and chickpeas on his 2600ha property, said he was expecting good outcomes this season.

‘‘After an excellent autumn break things had a bit of a dry winter through July but we had a good August — nearly 70mm through August — and that’s really set the season up well,’’ Mr Trewick said.

‘‘Hopefully September delivers some spring rains and finishes the season off well.

‘‘We’ve got an excellent profile of moisture. Not quite as good as last year, but we had some mammoth yields from last year.’’

The unusual start to spring has not caused too many troubles for Mr Trewick, but he said frosts that continued later into the season would pose some concern.

‘‘(They are) a bit more persistent than I would have liked, hopefully we won’t get any late ones that cause some grief there,’’ he said.

‘‘The oaten hay yields are going to be solid and hopefully there’s some more quality there than last year. The exporters seem to have a good demand for the oaten hay overseas and that should help the job there.

‘‘Chick peas are in demand and canola price looks up. The cereal price looks a bit flat still, but she’ll be right.’’

With 1200ha growing canola, wheat and barley, Elmore’s Ged McCormick said the season was looking ‘‘pretty rosy’’ after a worryingly dry June but said ultimately ‘‘five-eighths of bugger-all’’ could be done about the weather.

‘‘Everyone was getting very concerned with not a lot of rain (in June), it was looking a little sad, but then down she comes and we had three to four inches in July,’’ Mr McCormick said.

‘‘You can’t tell too much this time of year, but I’d say we would be looking above average (yields).

‘‘If we can just have a normal spring we’ll be happy.’’

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting up to 100mm to fall throughout spring across the Goulburn Valley and Southern Riverina.

The bureau’s climate prediction manager Andrew Watkins said while spring days and nights were expected to be warmer than average for the south-east of the country, clear nights meant the risk of frost would continue, with notably cooler nights experienced throughout the Murray-Darling Basin.

With waterlogged paddocks a common sight across the Goulburn Valley during the past two years, landholders are invited to attend a free soil compaction workshop and farm visit at Congupna on Tuesday, September 19.

Agriculture Victoria soil scientist Nick O’Halloran will host the session, which aims to help irrigators assess sub-soil compactions and understand the benefits and costs of management strategies.

■To RSVP for the day, phone Nick O’Halloran on 0438321528 by September 15.

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