'Perfect rain' on the horizon

Perfect rains, and more coming

NEARLY DONE: Craig Mortlock checks the conditions after 18 milimetres of overnight rain on a block at Bet Bet north of Maryborough.

NEARLY DONE: Craig Mortlock checks the conditions after 18 milimetres of overnight rain on a block at Bet Bet north of Maryborough.


Croppers and livestock producers across the state are making the best of a perfect start to autumn.


Croppers are describing the start to this year's sowing season as "perfect".

An early break and good follow-up rains has set the season up for most areas across the state. Many areas have had well above average falls during April.

Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) figures showed that a swathe of farming land across the northern, Goulburn Valley, central and north east Victoria recording rainfall in the top percentile. Some areas recorded totals the highest on record.

At Joyces Creek near Newstead, Rob Sewell said the season had been close to perfect so far.

"It's as good as 1983 - it rained grass that year," he said.

Good early rains had provided quality feed for his and wife Naomi, son, Adam, and daughter-in-law Sarah's self replacing Merino flock.

He said the season was well set up after receiving 226 milimetres to the end of April and a further nearly 20mm for May up to Monday. He was hoping for another 15mm by the end of the week.

The Sewell's lambing was about three-quarters complete and there appeared to be a large number of twins.

"The twin rate reflects the condition the ewes were in at joining after a good feed season," he said.

Croppers anxious for rain are beginning to see some reason for optimism with much of the country likely to receive good falls in the next seven days.

BoM mapping for Victoria showed solid falls through to Thursday. In its seasonal projections, the BoM pointed to a big swing in favour of a wetter than average winter.

Craig Mortlock who farms with brothers Andy and Brent on various blocks from Campbelltown in the south, to Natte Yallock to the north, said excellent rain had left a good level of soil moisture. He said that his country at Campbelltown didn't really need much more rain.

"We've had 11 inches (275mm) at Campbelltown and another 15mm would be great," he said.

He said there was just an area of barley left to sow in their program.

The BoM has virtually declared wetter than median conditions across most of inland Australia, including the critical Murray-Darling Basin, with the odds of exceeding the median in excess of 80 per cent for most of the continent but south-west WA, areas to the east and south of the Great Dividing Range and northern Queensland.

Historically, the BoM rarely comes out with figures as strong as this in favour of wetter or drier conditions.

Critically, the outlook into spring was also good, with a similarly strong bias towards wetter conditions in the BoM's July to September figures.

The forecast was based on the forming of an Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) negative event. All the models used by the BoM now predict an IOD negative will form at some stage this year.

In the Pacific, it was likely neutral conditions would remain, although three out of eight models used by the BoM were predicting a La Nia would form at some stage.

In spite of the lack of rain in some key cropping zones in WA, northern NSW, Queensland and SA's Eyre Peninsula, there was still good optimism for the year ahead, and that was buoyed further by a report from the BOM last week.


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