Slim chance of average spring rain
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.