Farmers feel the pinch after deluge

By Rodney Woods on December 05, 2017
  • Farmers feel the pinch after deluge

    The rains accross the weekend have delayed harvesting for farmers, with losses in yield and quality expected.

  • Farmers feel the pinch after deluge

    Cattle seek higher ground between Stanhope and Rushworth.

  • Farmers feel the pinch after deluge

    A farmer makes his way to his property near Murchison at the weekend.

  • Farmers feel the pinch after deluge

    The Gobarup Creek, rising near Colbinabbin at the weekend after the rain.

  • Farmers feel the pinch after deluge

    Chris Morgan snapped this picture of a wallaby seeking refuge on a trailer in a shed near his house last Saturday.

Heavy rainfall has waterlogged crops across the Goulburn Valley and Southern Riverina, delaying the harvest of wheat and canola.

The expected rainfall totals forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology did not eventuate but this has not stopped farmers from feeling the impact.

Murchison farmer Pat Deane said 152.4mm of rain fell at the weekend.

‘‘We had six inches of rain and it has stopped everything. There is water everywhere,’’ he said.

‘‘If it rains on Tuesday like is forecast, it could be three weeks before we can get back on the paddock.’’

Mr Deane said his canola and wheat had been looking good until the rain arrived.

‘‘Canola was looking at being 2tonne/ha and anywhere between 46 to 49 per cent oil. The canola in the windrow is going brown.

‘‘Wheat could stand up all right but also could go to feed. What could have been isn’t going to be anymore.’’

Murchison wasn’t the only town to record more than 100mm, with Longwood also reaching triple-figure falls.

‘‘We received 115mm. This was not as much as others,’’ Longwood farmer Charlie Davey said.

‘‘It’s not very good at all. The crops are sitting in an inch (25.4mm) of water at the minute.

‘‘We have 150ha of wheat in and it will probably hurt yield quite a bit.

‘‘We were expecting 3tonne/ha but we don’t know what to expect now,’’ he said.

Just like Mr Deane, Mr Davey was worried about when he would be able to get back on the paddocks.

‘‘The next challenge will be getting headers and tractors out in the paddock. We will probably start getting bogged.’’

Despite not getting as much rain as Mr Deane and Mr Davey, Finley farmer Nathan Hehir compared his rainfall total (between 65 and 75mm) to flood irrigation.

‘‘There would be (a threat of bogging). It is the equivalent of flood irrigation. It will hold us up for at least four or five days,’’ Mr Hehir said.

‘‘We need a few sunny days to dry it out.’’

Goulburn-Murray Water’s head of bulk water operations Martina Cusack was grateful for the weather bureau’s warnings despite some places in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District not recording rainfalls as high as expected.

‘‘Everything went very well.

‘‘We appreciate the BoM warnings. It’s better to be ready,’’ she said.

‘‘From a storage perspective it went really well.

‘‘Nillahcootie and William Hovell are spilling at low levels, well below flood levels,’’ she said.

I K Caldwell field services manager Andrew Bell said while most of the region’s canola had been harvested, many farmers were only 20 or 30 per cent into bringing in their grain crops.

While the farmers had been looking at good yields, they were now facing downgrading of quality, depending on the maturity of the heads.

Those regions with the heaviest rainfall would face threats from lodging, and drying out would take a number of days.

Although there was a risk of waterlogged grain sprouting, many farmers were selecting grains for tolerance of those conditions.

Harvesting could resume at the end of the week if weather conditions improved, Mr Bell said.

Storage levels as of 9am on December 3:

■Lake Nillahcootie 104.5 per cent

■Lake Eildon 73.9 per cent

■Lake Eppalock 86.3 per cent

■The Connections Project Open Day, scheduled for Wednesday at Cohuna, has been postponed due to the recent wet weather.

December 1-3 rain

Strathbogie — 221mm

Stanhope — 168mm

Euroa — 159mm

Echuca — 139mm

Hume Dam — 98mm

Mangalore — 89.4mm

Benalla — 85.4mm

Tatura — 81.2mm

Deniliquin — 63.2mm

Yarrawonga — 57.8mm

Kerang — 41mm

By Rodney Woods on December 05, 2017

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