Falls put a spring in the step

Rain falls at right time, for most


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Falls of up to 40mm of rain have set Victorian croppers and livestockers up for spring, coming at exactly the right time for most farmers.

Rainfalls of up 40millimetres in the last week have set Victorian croppers and livestockers up for spring, coming at exactly the right time for most farmers.

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IDEAL START: Russell and Alan Pitcher run sheep and crops at the historic Mount Emu station, west of Ballarat. They received 16mm of rain, after light showers for most of June and July.

IDEAL START: Russell and Alan Pitcher run sheep and crops at the historic Mount Emu station, west of Ballarat. They received 16mm of rain, after light showers for most of June and July.

But while much of the state enjoyed the rain - after an extremely dry June and July - parts of Gippsland again missed out.

Trevor Caithness, who runs beef cattle and has a cropping operation south of Bairnsdale, said it was probably the driest nine months on record. 

He has 500 breeding cows, was fattening 700 cattle and had 700 hectares of wheat, barley and canola.

“We might have got about five millimetres of rain out of it,” Mr Caithness said. He said his pastures were struggling the most, with heavy frosts affecting the grass.

“The most pressure is on fattening the livestock; we are dipping into our fodder reserves and feeding reasonably heavily. It’s been one of those years - it comes in at central Gippsland and goes through to the New South Wales border.

Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) senior duty forecaster Rod Dickson said a low pressure system brought the rain.

“It initially developed over Southern New South Wales and then slipped south eastwards across Victoria,” Mr Dickson said.

In the Mallee, Berriwillock’s John Renney said the property had received 35mm of rain.

It had been “perfect timing” for the lentils, chick peas, barley, wheat and canola.

 “We picked up a few showers in July and we have got good subsoil moisture, but certainly we were getting a bit dry,” Mr Renney said.

“It’s one of those things – if you could order rain, that’s when you would order it.”

It’s one of those things – if you could order rain, that’s when you would order it. - John Renney, Berriwillock cropper

Waaia dairy farmer James Dillon said he received 35mm out of the weekend’s rain event.

“After the dry June, it was a worry, but it’s come good for spring,” Mr Dillon said. 

At Mount Emu, Russell Pitcher said the property had received 16mm of rain. 

“It’s just enough to keep things damp but we can still get on paddocks and do what we want to do,” Mr Pitcher said. 

“It’s been good timing for our cropping program, as we have got our urea out.

“Most of the fronts that have been coming through have delivered between three and five mm, and that’s ideal for this area.

“When you have shorter daylight hours, you want less rain.”

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