Mallee croppers set up for next year

Summer rains are better received than not says Mallee grain cropper.


Sheep
Southern Mallee cropper, Mark McPherson, with his father Wavell, were grateful for the recent heavy rain that soaked northwest Victoria. Mark farms at Brim and Wavell operates the Brim Rural store. They purchased Merino ewes last month at Wycheproof.

Southern Mallee cropper, Mark McPherson, with his father Wavell, were grateful for the recent heavy rain that soaked northwest Victoria. Mark farms at Brim and Wavell operates the Brim Rural store. They purchased Merino ewes last month at Wycheproof.

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Mallee farmers will begin chasing knockdown chemicals as response of last week’s drenching rain.

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“It was better to get than not”, was the response by one Southern Mallee farmer to last week’s drenching rain that dumped upwards of 125 millimetres on parts of northwest Victoria.

Mark McPherson, who farms properties on either side of Brim with wife Karen, said the soaking rain would help put badly needed moisture into a very dry soil profile, although they were just 24 hours away from finishing this year’s harvest.

The rain was heaviest – 115 to 160 mm – to the east of Brim and neighboring Beulah but on the west side falls were lighter, around the 65-100 mm.

And it was a very similar rain to 2011 Mr McPherson said when even heavier falls were recorded and that set them up well for the following year.

Nonetheless it was grateful received and now grain farmers around the region he said would begin to chase the various knockdown chemicals to control any and all summer weeds likely to grow after such a fall.

“It’s our job now to conserve that moisture so any further rain can be added to the profile”.

On the harvest scene,  Mr McPherson said most growers in the area have been pleasantly surprised by the results gained off chemical fallow and those grown on 12-months of fallow.

The best results he has heard was four tonnes to the hectare on light fallowed country but generally the crops on fallow have yielded around the eight bags per acre (in the old terms).

However, those that were thought to bad initially, were a write-off, he said.

Mr McPherson said the benefits to be gained for livestock would be minimal.

There has been reports of stock losses further east where the rain was heaviest near Birchip. But generally the rain will softened the dry feed and that will crumble and deteriorate in quality as the summer progresses.

However the rain is expected to spark some summer grasses and stubble self-seeding but this he expects will only last as long as the spray carts do their rounds.

Mr McPherson was confident the rain will bring future benefits.

“We went into this year’s cropping season with a dry soil profile and then became heavily reliant of growing season rains. The rain has all soaked in so conserving that moisture will be a focus for preparing for next year’s program”.

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