Rain wanted, say north-eastern producers

Rain wanted, say north-eastern producers


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Farmers in the north-east and Gippsland are looking to the skies for rain, as the season starts to tighten on the back of a dry September.

Farmers in the north-east and Gippsland are looking to the skies for rain, as the season starts to tighten on the back of a dry September.

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Durham Ox cropper Murray Haw said his crops needed another burst of rain. “We have had good sheep feed, all year, because we had an early break but we need a general rain now to finish things off,” Mr Haw said.

“There was an early break in the autumn so there is a fair chance spring will cut out. Really you don’t have a good autumn and spring.”  He said his sheep were looking good.

“They are all fat and have good wool on them, so they will be worth good money.”

 Asked when he would like rain, he replied “yesterday, about 25mm, yesterday”.

“It’s been a pretty cold winter but not too frosty. It started off wet, then it went dry, then we had another bit of a wet spell and its gone dry again.”

In the north-east, cropper and sheep producer Murray Ick, who is half way between Shepparton and Euroa, said his triticale, canola and oaten hay needed another good finishing rain.

“Its been pretty good up until now. We need probably 25mm in the next week or two as it’s just cut out,” Mr Ick said.

“We had a dry June, we were a little bit too wet in August, but we just need 25mm to finish it off.”

He said the area had some light frosts, with the one heavy event coming too early to affect crops.

Thoona’s Malcolm Amery, who grows wheat, canola and faba beans and runs sheep, said he was looking for one more decent fall in the next month and a finishing rain, in October.

“The season has been looking really good, fantastic, but 25mm of rain, right now, would be perfect to keep it going,” Mr Amery said.

 “We are entering the critical time now. From now on, we don’t want any frosts.”

MORE RAIN: Durham Ox' Murray Haw said he'd like another good fall, "yesterday."
PHOTO: Andrew Miller.

MORE RAIN: Durham Ox' Murray Haw said he'd like another good fall, "yesterday." PHOTO: Andrew Miller.

Beef producer David Lord, Mitta Mitta, said while the river flats had been alright, the higher ground was struggling.

“A lot of the springs and creeks have not run as they normally would,” Mr Lord said. A burst of hot weather would affect pastures in the drier country.

Russell Kelly, Mitta Mitta, said the area had receive some reasonable winter rain, but it had been dry since.

”We had the driest June on record, with 8.1mm and records started in 1905,” Mr Kelly said. The long term average was 109mm.

“July was below average, at 102mm, against 124mm, while in August it was a bit of a switch, to 182mm, while the average is 126mm.” 

Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Ian Barnes-Keoghan said Victoria’s September rainfall was below average, particularly across the north. 

“The big drivers are not pushing one way or another at the moment. There is some indication October rainfall is likely to be above average and November will be dry.” 

The succession of cold fronts, which passed through Victoria in the first two weeks of September, saw  locations report both the wettest - and driest  – September for at least 20 years.

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