FARMERS over most of Victoria are rejoicing in the most widespread autumn break for a decade.
Rain beginning last Thursday delivered falls of between 30 and 90 millimetres over much of northern, western and central Victoria, to create the ideal platform for the upcoming season.
The timing of the break was ideal for croppers, who traditionally hope to get rain on Anzac Day. It may also provide a late autumn feed flush for graziers, with soil temperatures still warm, although denuded pastures will take time to come good after being eaten to the ground.
The rain also eased the pressure on water supplies north of the divide. Farmers in undulating areas recorded
some run-off into their dams, while catchments in parched areas such as the Wimmera-Mallee also received modest inflows.
Importantly, the catchments in places such as the Grampians and Central Victoria, which provides water for the Bendigo district, were thoroughly soaked and any follow-up falls will now run into storages.
Rain began in the far north-west of the state on Thursday night and continued right through until Saturday night in most areas.
Falls were generally highest north of the Great Divide, with the north-west of the state receiving 50-90mm.
In the Wimmera, Horsham received 89mm, while to the north there was 82mm at Ouyen. Rains tapered off slightly in the eastern Mallee, with Ultima receiving 40mm. In the north central district there were falls of 42mm at Bendigo and 32mm at Echuca.
THE MAGIC $10/kg price for 19 micron wool is still available right out to beyond July next year, according to the futures trade and 21 micron wool can be locked in for about 900 cents for the next 12 months at least.
While many woolgrowers are naturally hoping for auction prices to rise as the drought and therefore supply squeeze continues, the chance to lock in a profitable price for part of the clip is something an increasing number of farmers are doing.
Many missed the chance to sustain the enjoyment of the wool price spike during 2002 after the eastern market indicator dropped from 1200 c/kg clean to 850c in just a few short months at the start of 2003.
IF THERE was an unhappy vendor driving home from last Friday's Warnambool cattle sale Saffin Kerr Bowen and Wilson livestock agent Phil Keane said he would be very surprised.
With black clouds overhead and reports of good rain moving from Adelaide to Nhill to the Riverina, a group of commission buyers led by Duncan Brown and Brendan Fitzgerald dominated the buying gallery and helped push the top end of the steer market to 180 cents kilogram-185c/kg and unjoined heifers to $635 a head.
Good demand from meat companies across the State put a floor of 160c/kg-170c/kg in the heifer market for anything with condition for anything with condition.