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Christmas ‘wish list’ for Wimmera-Mallee farmers hoping for ‘normal’ summer weather

Agriculture minister Jaala Pulford inspects a frosted wheat crop Langi Logan south of Ararat with farmers Bruce McKay and Andy Laidlaw. Farmers are hoping for 'normal' summer conditions following months of uncertainty.

Agriculture minister Jaala Pulford inspects a frosted wheat crop Langi Logan south of Ararat with farmers Bruce McKay and Andy Laidlaw. Farmers are hoping for ‘normal’ summer conditions following months of uncertainty.

By DEAN LAWSON
Three weeks of traditional dry, warm and ‘generally normal’ summer conditions sit at the top of a Wimmera farming Christmas wish list as the region picks up the pieces from a month of uncertainty.
Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke suggested some growers would consider they had already received an early ‘gift’ with the heaviest rain last week missing much of western Victoria.
He stopped short of saying growers had ‘dodged a bullet’ but said follow-up cool conditions and drying wind after the rain would have worked in favour of preventing cereal-crop loss or degradation.
“Let’s just say that circumstances are far better generally than they could have been. The weather that had been predicted had a lot more downside than upside. On a sliding scale, the whole region could have been in a lot worse shape,” he said.
“It might all be okay for many growers, but in saying that, there will still be people heavily affected by what’s happened. Conditions have been so variable – some farmers will do well and others not so well.”
Mr Jochinke said apart from a broad variation between poor or good circumstances, he was also hearing reports of the benefits of farming diversity where the arrival of soaking conditions had been a ‘double-edged sword’.
“For example, at Bordertown there were farmers who believed they might be able to make up what they had lost in wheat with lucerne and irrigation. But the story can be a lot different for the straight grain grower,” he said.
“There is no doubt that some will fare considerably better than others – circumstances vary dramatically, not only from region to region, but also paddock to paddock.”

Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke

Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke


Western Victorian farmers, many already counting the cost of widespread crop damage from frost and hail and with paddocks full of ripening grain, had braced for the worst last week.
But while heavy rain fell in many areas, most of the deluge was in central and north-eastern Victoria.
Mr Jochinke said farmers in much of the Wimmera, all expecting to have a year’s worth of work washed away, were happy that weather bureau predictions, in most situations, had failed to materialise.
“Regardless of what happened, the bureau did the right thing in warning of the potential danger. At least we knew about what might have happened,” he said.
Mr Jochinke said a clearer understanding of Wimmera grain-crop prospects would emerge later this week as farmers climbed into their headers to either resume or start harvesting.
“The first couple of header boxfuls will provide us with an indication of whether the rain has caused any major problems. It’s all a bit of an unknown at this stage,” he said.
“What we do know is that what we now want for Christmas is three weeks of traditional summer weather – I think most farmers would be happy with that.
“It’s been a tough season with everything from a period of early dry conditions, to mice to frost damage and now rain. It’s certainly been one of those seasons we won’t forget.”

The entire December 6, 2017 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

Short URL: http://www.theweeklyadvertiser.com.au/?p=53099

Posted on Dec 6 2017

Posted by on Dec 6 2017. Filed under Agriculture, FEATURED, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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