Eyes on weather systems in Victoria

Eyes on weather systems in Victoria

Cropping
Farmers have been kicking up the dust in their sowing programs in the Wimmera/Mallee this year, such as this grower in the Watchupga district near Birchip earlier in the month.

Farmers have been kicking up the dust in their sowing programs in the Wimmera/Mallee this year, such as this grower in the Watchupga district near Birchip earlier in the month.

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Victoria is split into wet and dry halves, but it is hoped a rain event will arrive next week, kicking off crops in the north-west.

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VICTORIA is a tale of two halves in terms of the winter cropping program.

While it is all smiles in the north-east where there has been a solid opening break on top of good subsoil moisture and the high rainfall zone Western District has picked up enough rain to bring up crops, the state's traditional grain growing regions in the Wimmera / Mallee remain bone dry.

In spite of the lack of rain farmers through the north-west have been busy, with the majority of the crop already planted, although some more conservative growers are waiting for rain, concerned about either mice numbers or uneven germination on the back of light showers.

Ashley Fraser, Victorian Farmers Federation grains group president and farmer at Rutherglen, said it had been a near ideal start in the north-east.

"We're rapt with how things have come up, the crops are up and away," Mr Fraser said.

"It certainly isn't too wet, we had around 20mm last week, but that was enough to join up with the subsoil moisture from summer and early autumn rain," he said.

"There had been nothing much through late autumn until last week so we were really happy to see that, but a dryish autumn is no real problem, we'd gladly swap autumn for spring rain."

From now, he expected with normal winter patterns crops would have adequate moisture with the shorter days and low evaporation rates.

In the west, it is still a waiting game.

Sam Eastwood, Kaniva, said there had been negligible rain for the year, but added farmers in the district had become comfortable planting dry and that there had not been enough showers to cause a partial germination.

He said while an early break was preferable a later start would not matter with a reasonable spring.

It was a similar story north of Warracknabeal where Bernard Lindsay said it had been a bone dry autumn until some light showers last week.

"There is some crop germinated off the back of that, it hasn't poked through yet, but that should be fine if we get some rain in the next few weeks," Mr Lindsay said.

It is possible that the west's wait for rain may be coming to an end, with many weather models forecasting a rain event for next week, although the models are still shifting around at this early stage.

The story Eyes on weather systems in Victoria first appeared on Farm Online.

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