WIMMERA Development Association has welcomed a state government commitment to a weather radar in the region.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced funding for drought-affected communities on Monday, which included support for Wimmera Development Association’s Wimmera Weather business case to have a real-time radar in either the northern Wimmera or southern Mallee.
The Bureau of Meteorology has been supporting the association and will also provide support to the project.
Mr Andrews said farmers in the Wimmera had raised rain radar blackspots as a key issue.
“We’ve listened and now we’re addressing it,” he said.
Wimmera Development Association project officer Mark Fletcher welcomed the announcement.
“This is a project we have been working on for quite some time and it will be a way to increase efficiencies within the agriculture sector,” he said.
“We are now looking to engage someone to create a business case for the radar and we hope that will be completed by the end of the year.”
Mr Fletcher said the radar was vital for the region.
“So many business decisions are made due to the weather, such as spraying and fertilising,” he said.
“If someone is fertilising, they need rain to wash it into the soil and without the weather farmers are expecting, things can become very wrong and a waste of money.
“I was speaking to one farmer who spread urea when it was meant to rain.
“When it didn’t rain, the urea went into the atmosphere and cost him about $25,000.”
Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said farmers needed the best real-time data to help them better prepare.
“This business case is a step towards ensuring they’re able to do that,” she said.
“We will work with the Bureau of Meteorology and the community to ensure they have the best case to get this important asset.”