Wimmera waits for rain

06 Mar, 2013 03:00 AM

FARMERS across the state are entering the autumn period with varying amounts of moisture but generally there is still optimism among the agricultural sector.

This week’s Wimmera Machinery Field Days (WMFD) saw farmers from across western Victoria flock to the Longerenong field days site, a lack of moisture no deterrent to seasonal confidence.

By and large, western Victoria missed out on the heavy rain which largely fell in a line from Bendigo and east, but both croppers and graziers are not concerned.

“It’s early autumn and its supposed to be dry,” said Moolort, near Maryborough, farmer Tony Rinaldi, pictured with RFM managing director Paul Ryan at the WMFD.

“Late summer rain can get grass up, but it generally just dies.

“We’re an area that doesn’t traditionally get summer rain, so we’re quite happy to see it dry at present, so long as we get a nice early true autumn break.”

Mr Ryan said early indications were that crowd confidence at the field days was up.

“It was a reasonable season last year, especially from the central Wimmera and south, so I think the mood is up.

“It’s very dry here now, but you look at the weather patterns and there’s tropical moisture in the north and that moisture eventually means a good rain here further into the autumn.”

Victorian Farmers Federation grains group president Andrew Weidemann said farmers were busy with preseeding preparation.

“People are busy putting out gypsum and lime where necessary.”

He said there was a diverse range of paddock conditions.

“It’s bone dry down here in the Wimmera, but parts of the Mallee had good rainfall last week which was significant enough in parts for farmers to spray and conserve some moisture – places in a line along the river from Manangatang to Quambatook had 40mm or so, which will be useful in the growing season.”

He said cropping zones in the north-east had up to 50mm, which will be conserved.

However, he said Wimmera farmers were not worried by the dry start to the year.

“On the bright side, its allowed growers to save money by not having to go out spraying and the old theory was that a hot, dry summer meant an early break, so we’re hoping that’s right.”

With 30 degree temperatures predicted across Victoria for at least the next week, Mr Weidemann said farmers would prefer to see rain hold off until temperatures cooled somewhat.

“Come April, we’d like to see a good autumn break.”



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