THE timing of last week’s patchy rain has frustrated farmers in central and western Victoria who have endured months of below-average rainfall.
While the rain was too late into the growing season to be useful on many farms, it boosted some finishing crops and pastures in the south west, southern Wimmera, Gippsland and North East.
While Shepparton received 45mm of rain and Yarrawonga 29mm, Advance Ag agronomist Tony Kelly said the rain would have little impact on dryland crops but “flattened irrigated crops near Shepparton and Numurkah”.
“It’s frustrating ... two weeks too late,” Mr Kelly said.
IK Caldwell agronomist Lachlan Holden said wind as well as about 80mm of rain in the Deniliquin region had caused problems for irrigated crops in particular.
He said gusty winds of about 100km/h, combined with the rain, contributed to significant lodging, or laying down, of any top-heavy crops.
“The severity depends on variety and yield potential, but it’s mainly focused on the irrigated crops because their yield potential is higher,” Mr Holden said.
Andrew Bouffler, at Lockhart, NSW, received 80mm, but a nearby farmer measured 130mm.
“You can’t think it will be good for quality,” Mr Bouffler said.
Hamilton received just 15mm, where many pastures are still green and some livestock producers rely on summer grazing crops.
Nearby, falls ranged from 30mm at Ararat to 4mm at Warrnambool.
At Mockinya, south of Horsham, farmer Andrew Bell had 26mm, which was “more help than hindrance”.
While further rain could damage cut but yet-to-be-baled hay, the rain “helped our wheat, which is still a bit green”, Mr Bell said.
While rain delayed harvest in the Mallee and Wimmera, it would not damage crops unless heavy follow-up rain arrived, farmers said.
Navarre mixed farmer Rob Tehan measured 17mm, which was “nearly too late to do any good at all”.
Sheep producer Lisa Harrison, at Giffard, near Sale, said the 23mm she received was “perfect”.
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