WIMMERA grain producers remain optimistic about this season’s harvest despite a lack of rain.
Victorian Farmers Federation Grains Group president and Wimmera farmer Ross Johns said spring rain was needed.
“Everyone is nervously awaiting that spring rainfall and the further north you get, the more people are feeling desperate,” he said.
“It’s still too early to say Victoria is in drought because we don’t know what the September and October rainfall will be. By the middle of October we will have a better view.
“We’ve all just got our fingers crossed that rain comes for not just for Victoria, but for New South Wales, too. Victoria is in a position to produce some hay this year, some of which will be moving north to drought stricken NSW.”
Mr Johns owns land east of Warracknabeal and said the season was varied across the region.
“What we’re seeing is a range of different experiences throughout,” he said.
“Northern Victoria is very dry, but when you travel south of Balmoral there are places that are getting so much rain that some of the crops could become waterlogged.”
He said it was hard to predict which crops would make up the bulk of the crop this season.
“Barley and wheat will be prominent,” he said.
“There will be a lack of canola because of the delayed start and pulses will be down too because of the overseas tariffs.”
Agriculture Victoria had an information tent at the Mallee Machinery Field Days at Speed on Wednesday and Thursday.
South-west grains manager Robert O’Shannessy said many patrons had inquired about the season’s prospects.
“Their main concern is quite consistent throughout the region, which is the low level of sub-soil moisture,” he said.
“We had our agronomist Dale Boyd speak to producers on Wednesday about the current situation, giving an update about the climate and the sub-soil moisture levels.
“We will all be relying on spring rainfall for both pasture and grain producers.”
We are back at Speed today, with plenty of information on crop disease, animal health, feeding stock, bees and EID, plus fresh popcorn and Tin Shed talks! Come and say hi and have a chat out of the wind at site 130. @VicGovAg#getuptospeed@SpeedMMFDpic.twitter.com/rxevBxfD5W— Ag Vic Grains (@VicGovGrains) August 2, 2018
Grain Producers Australia chair and Rupanyup farmer Andrew Weidemann said the situation was vastly from six months ago.
“It was not that long ago we thought there was hay out there that would never sell, now there are calls virtually non-stop from people looking to get their hands on more fodder,” he said.
“I wouldn’t think there is a lot of hay left unsold anywhere, you may see a few hay trucks moving still but that is mostly with hay that had been pre-sold.
“We’re at the stage now where baled straw is being trucked to northern NSW from the Wimmera, which is a massive cost for something that is just providing roughage.”