Parts of southern NSW have had a blessing of rain in the last week with some areas recording up to 25mm with barley appearing the preferred crop to take advantage of the break.
The Junee district has “lucked in” with solid rain averaging 20mm around the district. Farmers are plumbing for barley and oats crops and most are getting away sowing just before the rain events. Hopes of having forage canola in the spring though are rapidly fading.
The rain quickly petered out in more northern areas, although Orange recorded 22mm for the week, (but barely a drop at nearby Bathurst) and some rain on the Northern Tablelands (14mm at Guyra). There were only small falls in the Riverina (Griffith 11mm).
The best rain was on the South-West Slopes with Gundagai recording its best rain since summer (20mm), with another 10mm possible this week.
Although the rainfall across the south has been widespread, individual amounts have been relatively light. There has been little runoff. Amounts across the south ranged from 16mm at Deniliquin in the west up to 40mm at Barnawartha and 22mm at Boorowa. Adam Dellwo, agronomist with Elders, Deniliquin reported 16mm in two falls. "It is good to know it can still rain, but more is required at any stage," he said.
Dom O’Mahoney, Elders, Narrandera recorded 12.5 mm in the past week. Mr O'Mahoney said it is a reasonable start, but “we will take what we get".
Other centres which recorded decent falls include 20mm at Jugiong, 10mm at Yass, 10mm at Jerilderie and 20mm at Mullengandra, with 30 mm tipped out of the rain gauge in Wagga Wagga.
Junee Ag’n’Vet agronomist Taylor Krause said farmers in the district were confident of getting most of their crops away on the back of the rain. “ We should definitely get a crop here. Anything sown just before the rain seems to be fine. About 20mm was average about the district. There’s plenty of barley sown,” Mr Krause said.”
Farmers were preferring barley, with oats another favourite with the hope of feed grain later if the season, with the pressure on stock feed in the back of many farmers’ minds.
Alan Lindbeck, “Glenganook”, Junee, said he had planted Coolah, Spitfire and Lancer wheat and RGT Planet barley. He had maintained his cropping area this season. He had retained soil moisture by spraying summer weeds out of the stubble. “That was a big help in retaining soil moisture,” he said. It was only the first couple of inches that were dry in the sowing paddocks. “We think we’ll get away with some good crops.” He said the only issue was his canola crop was patchy in places.