A tale of seasons between Victorian regions

Parts of Victoria experiencing a bumper spring, as others deal with drought

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FAMILY AFFAIR: Jenny, Rod, Brad and Alana McIntosh, Loch, sold a pen of steers, 339kg, for 233c/kg, at Leongatha.

FAMILY AFFAIR: Jenny, Rod, Brad and Alana McIntosh, Loch, sold a pen of steers, 339kg, for 233c/kg, at Leongatha.

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South-eastern and western Victoria are reporting strong starts to spring, but agents in the north say rainfall is desperately needed.

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WHILE large areas of Australia remain in drought, last week's good spring rainfall across Victoria and south-east South Australia has boosted confidence among some producers.

Falls of up to 10 millimetresfollowed a wet winter across southern Australia which producers say is evident west of Melbourne.

Predicted rainfall in parts of the state will help fodder crops too, agents say, while north-east Victoria's season has "dropped off" in the last three weeks.

In South Gippsland, paddocks are firming after a wet end to winter while consistent spring rainfall has helped improve confidence.

"At the moment our season is going pretty well but we do need a follow up rain say in the next month or so," Alex Scott & Staff livestock auctioneer Dane Perczyk said.

"We expect to get up to an inch in South Gippsland in the next few days and if we keep getting that type of rain between now and Christmas, our season will be good.

"People are full steam ahead into silage and there's already new season silage starting to come back onto the market for sale despite the fact our fodder season started a bit later."

Further east, Sharp Fullgrabe owner Graeme Fullgrabe said conditions were ordinary in most parts of East Gippsland.

"We're tight enough here in Bairnsdale although we're better than a lot of places," he said.

"The biggest concern here is livestock water because people's dams are running out of water and livestock are bogging themselves in dams.

"In saying that, we had a store sale here last week and you'd be amazed at the condition of cattle at the moment considering it's drier in the east."

He said there were good patches in far East Gippsland near Cann River and Orbost, but described most parts of the region, and the Bega Valley where cattle were being sent from as "shocking".

In the west, Landmark Hamilton livestock manager Sam Savin described the start to spring as "absolutely sensational".

"We've had two or three millimetres of rain everyday this week and our rainfall for October is nearly at two inches," he said.

"We had a very dry autumn, we had a mild winter which suits our country and then we've had good spring rain and we've got grass everywhere.

"It's very different from last year because we didn't get that spring ... it stopped at August and didn't start until November so we're catching up on last year's failed hay crops."

However, the northern Mallee and Riverina is continuing to dry out.

"The season had been very good up until about three weeks ago when the rain just stopped," BR&C livestock auctioneer John Sawyer, Swan Hill, said.

"Some of the wheat crops have been cut for hay to try and capitalise on that market and with water at $820 a megalitre temporary transfer no one is going to be watering the ground.

"A lot of the irrigators are selling their sheep up here because they can't afford the water ... and there's no sub-soil moisture to keep the crops going."

North-east of Melbourne, Rodwells Yea and Alexandra branch manager Tyson Bush said rainfall had been "evenly-spread" but not consistent enough to fill local dams.

"The season is good but it's a very short window and we do need rain," he said.

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