Farmers seek milder weather

Farmers looking for milder weather


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Farmers are looking to the next few weeks to deliver milder weather, as frosts threaten pasture growth and crops.

Farmers are looking to the next few weeks to deliver milder weather, as frosts threaten pasture growth and crops.

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COLD CONDITIONS: Jim Renkin, Lindsay Park, Lima, said warm rain was needed to get pastures growing, after a series of frosts.

COLD CONDITIONS: Jim Renkin, Lindsay Park, Lima, said warm rain was needed to get pastures growing, after a series of frosts.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has forecast a return to wintry conditions, as a cold front crosses the state and brings snow as low as 500 metres. It’s also issued another sheep graziers alert, as gusty westerly winds sweep through the state.

BoM senior forecaster Chris Godfred said temperatures were starting to creep up, with Mildura hitting 30 degrees.

“That was the earliest 30 degree day in Victoria for the past four or five years, so we have finally started to get a bit of warmer weather,” Mr Godfred said. He said further rain again fell in the south-west and west, with totals of up to 15mm at Portland to Mount William, which recorded eight mm.

While temperatures towards the end of the week would be milder, they wouldn’t last. “That’s ahead of another cold front that’s going to whip across Bass Strait in the early parts of Saturday morning,” Mr Godfred said. “It does start to improve on Sunday,with a decent sized high, which moves across Victoria,” Mr Godfred said.

Jim Renkin, Lindsay Park, Lima said the area had just enough rain but the cold weather was affecting pasture growth.The Renkins run sheep and cattle on their two blocks, near Benalla.

“The grass is not moving, the ground temperature is cold and we have had a few heavy frosts,” Mr Renkin said. “We want some warm rain, to get it going.” He said the area had up to 14-15 heavy frosts in a row, which had checked operations such as silage cutting, near Benalla.

Tallangatta beef producer Michael ­McCormack, said the last system brought 27mm of rain to the property, with follow up falls of several millimetres in the last few days. “A bit of sunshine is what we are after,” Mr McCormack said.

Cropper Matt Kane, Barraport, said the property was in “a good spot at the minute. “A couple of weeks ago, I was leaving wet tracks in the paddocks – but the last few weeks have dried things out quite nicely.”

He grows wheat, barley, chick peas, lentils, field peas and vetch hay with brother Joe.

After a wet April and May, the area received one millimetre of rain in June and six mm in July.

“We had 55mm for August and September has seen another 12mm,” he said.

“It’s just kept things going pretty well; we got that much rain during April and May we needed a dry June and July, because it was just too wet.

“That’s not really heard of - it gets wet but not to the stage where you bog tractors.”

“If we got rain at the start of October, it would seal the deal and absolutely guarantee everything filling out to potential.

“But we are not desparate for rain, we are not hanging out for it, as long as we don’t get too many hot northerlies.”

Cam Parker, near Boort, said his early crops were “rocking along”, with the first hay, vetch, being cut this week.

“The last few days have given crops a growth boost but has also started to really start pumping the stored moisture,” Mr Parker said.

“The later crops will be keen to see some sunlight after a cold few weeks to get growing but an inch or two of rain wouldn't go astray soon to help the finish.” Spring irrigation has begun to keep canola at optimal moisture levels.”

Tongala cropper and livestocker Stephen Snelson said the area had been spared severe frosts, although the cold had an effect on the sucker lambs. “Where we are not irrigating the crops are needing a good shower now - another 25mm of rain would be very handy,” Mr Snelson said. “We are always looking for rain, in September.”

He said his property had received 10mm of rain, in the last week.

“The canola is in full flower, it looks really good, but a lot of people are very nervous about what October is going to deliver, in terms of frosts.”

Seaspray wool producer Gregor McNaughton said the area had experienced heavy frosts, lambing survival was up, due to the lack of cold, rainy weather and an extensive fox control program.

“There was frost on the beach at Seaspray,” Mr McNaughton said.

“It’s those very cold, rainy days, when you get down to seven or eight degrees and the rain sets in, that you get the losses.”

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