Rainfalls patchy as season fades out

Storms fail to stop march of season southwards


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Scattered storms over parts of Central, North-East and Gippsland have dumped high tallies but done little to the overall seasonal outlook.

You can’t bet on the rain. As flooding in parts of metro Melbourne affected Melbourne Cup day, the storms were largely too little too late for many regional areas of the State.

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Drought feeding: Tom Gannon feeding sheep on his drought-affected Nicholson property in August. Photo by Laura Ferguson.

Drought feeding: Tom Gannon feeding sheep on his drought-affected Nicholson property in August. Photo by Laura Ferguson.

Tuesday night saw storms dump 10-20 millimetres on scattered parts of East Gippsland and equally scattered but heavier falls of up to 50mm in south and west Gippsland.

In the North East similar conditions applied while in the North West of the state the season is fading as normal with headers beginning harvest in the Mallee.

In the Wimmera crops have begun to “turn” after an average year so far.

In drought affected East Gippsland recent patchy falls of rain have done nothing to relieve the stock feed situation as producers continue to feed cattle and sheep.

Ian Baker, Clydebank, located near Sale in East Gippsland, said the area was desperately dry.

“It’s bare dirt around here and the winds from last Friday and Saturday just sand blasted everything,” he said.

“It looks like March or April next year without an autumn break. It’s as dry around here as I have seen it since the 1970s. South of Sale towards Woodside and Yarram it’s very bad.

“But the Latrobe Valley – Traralgon – is good. Some recent falls around Bairnsdale also gave some of that country a lift but it was patchy and it won’t last long.”

In the south west coastal parts of the State the season remains good as regular falls of rain keep pastures going.

SKB Rodwells agent, Phil Keane, Warrnambool, said recent rains had come at the right time to give pastures a lift.

“It generally looks good but some of the “barrier” country is going off three to four weeks earlier than normal,” he said.

Mr Keane said farmers in the areas were flat out making silage to replenish fodder stores. He said the season meant cattle buyers were mainly from local areas and a strip from Geelong through to south east South Australia.

“That will be the case from now on unless NSW gets some decent rain,” Mr Keane said.

Balmoral cattle and sheep producer Justin Weaver, said the season had turned with annual pastures gone.

He said recent small falls of rain were would help anyone with perennial pastures.

“We had a wet August that gave us really good moisture levels on our lower country.

“But September and October were dry and the season is now where we would normally be in late December.”

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