Late rain boosts crops

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS - By Alana Chris­tensen

De­spite a dry start to win­ter, the rains fi­nally ar­rived and have left crop­pers feel­ing pos­i­tive about the up­com­ing har­vest.

Just 1.2 mm was recorded in Echuca in June, but falls of 44.5 mm in July and a fur­ther 71.5 mm in the first 24 days of Au­gust have made up for the dry start.

Land­mark El­more agronomist Greg Toomey said the Au­gust rain ‘‘turned around’’ the sea­son from be­ing merely okay to pro­duc­ing some good re­sults.

‘‘We’ve had a bit of ev­ery­thing, with an ex­traor­di­nar­ily wet April which gave way to a bit drier than av­er­age May which gave crop­pers a chance to get their crop in and then we had the dri­est June on record,’’ Mr Toomey said.

‘‘There was some con­cern about how the sea­son was go­ing, but crops have sur­vived the June quite well.’’

Mr Toomey said as long as events such as hail, heat­waves and frost were avoided in com­ing months, he ex­pected the sea­son to de­liver some good re­sults.

For Peter Tuo­hey — who grows canola, wheat and bar­ley on his farm 35 km west of Echuca — the rain has come at the right time.

‘‘We had good early rain which meant we got our crop in in good time and we had good mois­ture,’’ Mr Tuo­hey said.

‘‘It’s as good a start if not bet­ter than last year.’’

De­spite frost keep­ing the ground cold, Mr Tuo­hey said his canola was now ad­vanc­ing well hav­ing started flow­er­ing a cou­ple of weeks ago.

‘‘If the frost con­tin­ues we’ll be a bit con­cerned, it’s all a bit un­cer­tain at this point so we’ll see.’’

Else­where across the re­gion Be­nalla has made up for a com­pletely dry June, end­ing up with 150.4 mm across win­ter, with 83.3 mm falling in the first 24 days of Au­gust.

Devenish farmer Hamish Sin­clair — who grows wheat, bar­ley, canola and faba beans — said it had been a ‘‘great’’ win­ter.

‘‘(The crops) look good to­day, they look as good as they can up to date,’’ Mr Sin­clair said.

‘‘There’s lots of con­trast be­tween this year and last.

‘‘The dry June was great for us, we had a lot of is­sues last year with water­log­ging and get­ting jobs done in the pad­dock, so it’s been a great win­ter for us, ideal really.’’

The re­main­der of the re­gion ex­pe­ri­enced sim­i­lar re­sults, with Shep­par­ton and Kyabram also re­ceiv­ing more than 100 mm through­out win­ter, although De­niliquin was drier than most of the re­gion, re­ceiv­ing just 84.8 mm, and Kerang only 74.2 mm.

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