Parts of Victoria’s dry north, notably the Wimmera and Mallee areas finally scored some rainfall through thunderstorm activity last week.
Isolated places recorded 20-35mm of rain with Murrayville having 30mm, Wedderburn 36mm and Longernong 29mm. The north-east of Victoria and western Victoria also had 10-20mm over the week, Rutherglen had the heaviest weekly total, while Meredith had 55mm. Parts of east Gippsland also had some reasonable falls; Sale 37mm and Yarram; 20mm.
Prior to the rain, huge clouds of dust were seen over parts of northern Victoria as the line of storms moved east across the state, stretching from Kerang in the north to Colac in the south.
Some empty dams received the welcome runoff and summer forage crops in Gippsland and the western district will benefit from these rains.
The BOM has updated its El Nino models. While the latest outlooks from the eight surveyed models show a mixed signal for the coming months, for the moment there is no discernible trends suggesting an El Nino event is evident.
The price of buying water remains prohibitive in the north-east of Victoria at $500+/mega litre. Dairy farmers are looking at buying in fodder in the short-term rather than paying such high prices for water.
Protein and cereal hay demand is evident. Some canola hay demand is also evident given there are plentiful supplies of this hay around.
Last week’s rains are unlikely to slow the deterioration in summer pastures across much of Victoria. Paddocks are becoming progressively bare across many parts of Gippsland and western Victoria.
Some dairy farmers continue to cull the worst of their cattle, while there are others who have had enough and have put their farms on the market.
The big dry has also resulted in demand for lamb and sheep feed. Barley, fodder and sheep pellet enquiries have emerged as farmers continue to earn excellent returns from wool and lamb operations.
Last week, the Global Dairy Trade auction recorded its biggest jump in more than two years, with the price index lifting 6.7 per cent, the biggest increase since November 2016.
Another positive this week was further erosion in the Australian dollar, another reason for a possible lift in local milk prices.
Australia’s milk processors followed Bega’s lead with Saputo, Fonterra and Bulla all announcing 7-10c/kg of milk solid increases; welcome news for Australia’s dairy farmers.