Slim chance of av­er­age spring rain

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

The Wim­mera-mallee has a one-in-four chance of get­ting at least av­er­age rain for the three months of spring, pro­vid­ing hope for farm­ers try­ing to nurse emerg­ing crops through to har­vest.

Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy sum­maries of pre­dic­tive long-range weather data sug­gest the re­gion is likely to have a drier than av­er­age spring.

But while bureau cli­ma­tol­o­gist Jonathan Pol­lock said the odds of a gen­eral pat­tern of dry win­ter weather con­tin­u­ing through­out spring were high, there was no cer­tainty.

“Look­ing ahead, the most likely sce­nario is that the gen­eral pat­tern will con­tinue and that the odds for any con­sid­er­able rain in the Wim­mera-mallee are low – with a 75 per­cent chance of spring be­ing dryer than usual,” he said.

“But on the flip­side, that means there is a 25 per­cent chance of av­er­age or above-av­er­age rain. There is no guar­an­tee.”

Vic­to­rian Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent David Jochinke, who farms at Murra Warra north of Hor­sham, said agri­cul­ture was al­ways ex­posed to vari­abil­ity and risk.

“All this re­port demon­strates is that this year the risk is at the higher end of the scale and we shouldn’t be ex­pect­ing any­thing mirac­u­lous,” he said.

“Most Wim­mera farm­ers would al­ways take an av­er­age fin­ish over a dry fin­ish” – David Jochinke

“Most Wim­mera farm­ers would al­ways take an av­er­age fin­ish over a dry fin­ish.

“If we can get this sea­son home on av­er­age rain com­pared with be­low-av­er­age rain, we will take that any time.

“We’re not quite as bad as some other ar­eas, but in say­ing that we’re not in the best shape ei­ther and the har­vest po­ten­tial is down.”

Mr Jochinke said he also sus­pected the har­vest story to be a case of vari­abil­ity be­tween north and south re­gions.

He agreed cir­cum­stances would come down to soil-pro­file mois­ture, which crops would draw on heav­ily dur­ing a warm spring.

“In parts of the south we’re see­ing rea­son­able crop growth, sim­ply based on rain, but there has been nowhere near the same amount of rain in the north,” he said.

Bureau pre­dic­tions are also for the re­gion to have warmer than usual day time tem­per­a­tures dur­ing spring and an even a chance of warmer or cooler than av­er­age night time tem­per­a­tures.

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