SPORADIC rain, across the parched northern and western parts of the state throughout January, has been hailed a positive by the cropping community.
POSITIVE FALLS: Sporadic rain, across the parched northern and western parts of the state throughout January, has been hailed a positive by the cropping community.
Last week saw heavy falls of 50mm plus in Wimmera locations such as Dimboola East and Natimuk, with isolated tallies of above 80mm;in the Mallee, storm rain dumped equivalent tallies in places such as Watchupga.
It follows similar storm driven rainfall earlier in the month.
In general there has been 10-20mm across most of the Wimmera – Mallee for the month, with the prospect of further falls this week.
Agronomists said falls under 25mm were not enough for farmers to embark on summer spraying programs in terms of moisture conservation programs, but said farmers were spraying to control summer weed seed bank numbers and for nutrient retention.
“I’d say around 5-10pc of the Wimmera has had those good falls of 50mm plus where the summer spraying is useful for storing moisture on our heavier soils,” SMS Rural agronomist Darren Scott, Horsham said.
“However, others guys are looking at spraying just to keep things under control and if we can jag a couple of these rains that are forecast the totals begin to get useful.”
Rob Sonogan, Agrivision Swan Hill, said the rainfall had been patchy across the region, but farmers were generally looking to spray.
“It helps retain nutrients and it is also a good thing if we are lucky enough to get further rain.”
Woomelang farmer Chris Kelly said while he had only received about 25mm for the year, he would look to spot spray, in particular to control melons.
“It is not so much about subsoil moisture here at present, I am just a bit worried about sowing management, if the melons are left uncontrolled they can create trafficability issues at sowing, they go ropey if they are allowed to fruit without being sprayed.”
Ouyen farmer Ian Hastings said there had been good falls earlier in the year of between 25-50mm with further showers of around 10mm last week.
“Anything that’s had over that 40mm it will be beneficial in terms of providing moisture for the crop later in the year.”
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