Trevor gets sowing underway

Farmers start sowing with Cyclone Trevor bringing a patchwork of decent rain to NSW

Ron, Peter, Nick and Mark Campbell of Woodlands, Merriwa, setting up for sowing oats.

Ron, Peter, Nick and Mark Campbell of Woodlands, Merriwa, setting up for sowing oats.


Early season rain gives farmers a head-start on sowing


Ex-Cyclone Trevor and a cold front from the south have combined to bring a patchwork of rain across the state, kicking sowing into gear for some. 

Among those lucky to get under the rain was Merriwa farmer, Ron Campbell, who runs a livestock and cropping enterprise on Woodlands with his two sons, Peter and Mark. 

They recorded a total of 64 millimeters, 43mm coming from just one storm on Sunday afternoon. 

"It just makes the world of difference when mother nature smiles on you," he said. 

For the Campbells, rain has come at the right time. They had already put in about 150 hectares (40 per cent of the total area to be sown) of oats and are wasting no time getting the rest in. 

"This rain will certainly boost our prospects, especially with canola, we'll have a full profile of moisture on the ground that was prepared," he said.  

Further west, Pursehouse Coonabarabran branch manager Tim Evans said storms had been patchy across his district. 

"Rain has varied from 65mm to zero, but a small percentage have got enough to start sowing," he said. 

In the Riverina, Wantabadgery farmer Tony Clough said the early rain is a good indication for the season ahead. 

"Our fodder reserves are at an all time low and we really are hanging out for some crops to get out of the ground," he said.  

Among other areas that got rain, Menindee recorded its highest fall in at least five months, with 15mm in 24 hours. The Cobb Highway was closed on Monday between Wilcannia and Ivanhoe due to heavy rain and flooding. 

In the Central Tablelands Orange received 31mm in a week, Mudgee getting similar numbers. Brian Thomson from Porosity Agricultural Services, Mudgee, said it puts the region in a better position to this time last year.

"For graziers it's going to hopefully alleviate some of the pain from the last six to 12 months," he said. 

Yet it's not all good news, the Liverpool Plains and the Western Riverina largely missed out alongside Moree, whose farmers had been hoping for some follow-up rain to consolidate earlier falls in March. 

Moree AMPS agronomist Tony Lockrey said some December-sown dryland cotton crops still needed a drink, but the window was closing. 

Any significant rain would give farmers hope for winter crops.

"We need a big turn around before the levels of stored soil moisture are built up enough to trigger widespread plantings," he said.  

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster, Anita Pyne, said another cold front was expected to bring rain from late Friday into Saturday, mostly falling across eastern NSW. 


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