Are we calling the recent rain an autumn break?

Are we calling recent rain an autumn break?


Weather
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Variable rainfall totals across the state during the past week have marked the unofficial break to the season.

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WELCOME RAINS: Wayne Lockhart, Bonnie Doon, received 45 millimetres of rain last Thursday night after what had been a "harsh" season. Photo by Joely Mitchell.

WELCOME RAINS: Wayne Lockhart, Bonnie Doon, received 45 millimetres of rain last Thursday night after what had been a "harsh" season. Photo by Joely Mitchell.

Variable rainfall totals across the state during the past week have marked the unofficial break to the season, but with little moisture in the soil profile, farmers are hoping for more rain in the coming days.

According to Gorst Rural general manager Cam Conboy, Lake Bolac, falls varied significantly across western Victoria, with recordings of 10 millimetres up to a high of 90mm measured.

"There was a very narrow band of rain from Moyston down to Maroona which had 85-90mm in a thunderstorm front, while it was back to 50-60mm from Tatyoon to Westmere," Mr Conboy said.

"But you only had to be at Willaura to get 8-9mm or Woorndoo to receive 2mm, it was variable."

He said the rain was very welcome, but more follow-up falls were needed.

"I think it is probably as close to a break as we are going to get, the days of waiting around for a big rain and then starting to sow are not there," he said.

"There was a lot of dry sowing carried out in early April.

"But there is also plenty of more traditional farmers who have been waiting for a weed germination before starting to sow, it is a varied program at the moment."

He said canola and cereal plantings have remained similar to previous years, but significantly more paddocks have been sown for feed, due to the long, dry summer.

"Everyone's fodder reserves are depleted so we are also seeing more plantings of hay," he said.

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Aaron Wilson, Lexington, Moyston, is still assessing the damage after receiving 95mm in a thunderstorm last Thursday night.

The localised flash flooding caused fences along his creeks to be washed away and also resulted in sheep losses of about 30-40 head.

"About half of the sheep we lost were washed away while the other half were three weeks off shearing and at the point of lambing, so we did lose some lambs as well," he said.

"The timing wasn't ideal but I think the long-term benefits of moisture in the ground and all our dams being full is going to help us more than the losses we copped."

Meanwhile in central Victoria, grain and sheep producer Craig Mortlock measured 54mm at his home property, Oakwood, Campbelltown, south of Maryborough, while his country in the north at Dunluce received 18mm.

Mr Mortlock started dry sowing in April and has already sown 1500 hectares of his 2200ha cropping program.

Canola plantings have been reduced from 600ha down to 360ha and he has increased the area sown to oaten hay and barley.

"The rain was definitely very welcome but we are not out of the woods yet as we don't have much subsoil moisture this year," he said.

"The forecast is talking reasonable rainfall later this week so we are hopeful we can get 10-15mm which will keep things ticking along."

With offices at Maryborough and St Arnaud, Driscoll Ag director and agronomist Troy Driscoll said rainfall totals varied from 50-70mm east of Maryborough to 20-30mm in the west.

"Everyone is underway with sowing now, but it will carry on through to the end of May in our area," Mr Driscoll said.

"With the dry conditions, no knockdown herbicides have been applied, so a little bit of green growth will be good for weed control."

He said although planned canola plantings had been reduced, the rain will have given farmers confidence to add more canola, and even legumes, back in their crop rotation.

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