FARMERS across the Wimmera are feeling positive for the 2019 harvest despite lower than average rainfalls in the region.
Horsham's rainfall total for 2019 stands at 247.4mm at the end of October, which is significantly lower than the annual rainfall average of 420.8mm.
Nhill has received 241.4mm compared to a yearly average of 401.9mm; Warracknabeal has received 271.3mm compared to its annual average of 391.8mm; and Edenhope has received 276.6mm against an annual average of 576.5mm.
Natimuk farmer Michael Sudholz said he had received about 300mm of rain so far this year.
"We're expecting a good season. Natimuk received 22mm last weekend which meant a few late crops were about to fill out," he said.
"We're feeling very privileged and lucky compared to farmers in other parts of the region. You don't have to travel far from us to hear stories about farmers who have received very little rain this year."
Mr Sudholz said the late rain meant he would start harvest later than initially thought.
"We've got hay that has been sitting on the ground for three weeks waiting to be baled because of the rain. We're about three weeks away from starting harvest," he said.
Kaniva farmer Sam Eastwood said farmers in his region were feeling very positive for this year's harvest.
"We had a little heatwave a while back, but for the last two weeks we've had a really cool period with about 15mm to 20mm of rain," he said.
"With that, things have really started to fill out. The canola and wheat are looking excellent."
Mr Eastwood said Kaniva district farmers experienced a relatively good 2018 compared to farmers further south.
"Horsham definitely struggled, but we had a great year. I think this year will be equally as good if not better. The prices won't be as good as last year though, but everything here is very positive at the moment," he said.
Mr Eastwood said he planned to bale hay this week, and start his harvest in two week's time.
"There will be a lot of hay around this and there's still a strong domestic demand," he said.
"No one will know whether it will last. The drought has gone on for so long and the amount of livestock in New South Wales is probably a quarter of what it was a year ago."
Brimpaen farmerGerard Matthews said he experienced a slow start to the year.
"We had a late break and some frost, but the rain in spring has helped us catch up," he said.
"Rainfall has probably been similar to what it was last year, but this year's timing has been much better. The rain has been more beneficial for our sheep enterprise and we'll have a good amount of feed this year."
Mr Matthews said he had cut about half of his hay and hoped to have it finished by next week. He said he would start harvest in late November.
Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Lynette Bettio said the low rainfall totals in the Wimmera were reflected across most of the southern Australia.
"In the last 20 years between April and October much of the rainfall across the state has been in the lowest 10 per cent since records started. It's really reflective of that downward shift in rainfall across those regions between those months," she said.
"This is happening during a really important time agriculture communities such as the Wimmera where people are looking to fill dams and fill water shortages, so it is of concern. There has been a large response regarding this in terms of research efforts."
Dr Bettio said 2019 started off drier than normal for the Wimmera.
"What we saw in Horsham at the start of this year was similar to what we saw across many parts of the state with a dry start to the year. Looking at January to April, they were all very low totals and lower than what the average for those months," she said.
"For Horsham and some parts of southern Victoria we saw some wetter months in the middle of the year. Since then it's become somewhat drier, especially October with only 14.2mm against a mean of 30.9mm.
"Looking towards the end of the year, except of some southern parts of Victoria, there are increased chances of below median rainfall."
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Nhill (Woorak) has received 241.4mm so far in 2019 compared to the town's yearly average of 401.9mm.
Warracknabeal has received 271.3mm compared to a yearly average of 391.8mm, while Edenhope has received 276.6mm against an annual average of 576.5mm.