Farmers celebrated the best autumn break in 124 years this year.LIBBY PRICE June 19, 2014 3:39am
As the heavens continued to open over Benalla this week farmers celebrated the best autumn break in living memory.
Bureau of Meteorology rainfall figures from the past 124 years show the highest ever total rainfall for the three months from March to May of 260
The average for that period is 156
The rain had given grain crops a very promising start to the growing season.
Stewarton grain growers Stuart and Michelle Feldtman have had a huge confidence boost and now estimate their wheat crops have the potential to yield six to seven
‘‘We’ve really only had one frost and crops are emerging very quickly, say in seven days, when germination usually takes about two weeks,’’ Mr Feldtman said.
The mild temperatures have also encouraged insect pests, with some not usually considered to be a problem for crops such as slaters, slugs and millipedes.
Last week the Feldtmans had to resow a canola crop due to earwig damage.
‘‘Our soils are in much better condition than they were, say 20 years ago, due to stubble retention and cultivating using narrower points,’’ Mr Feldtman said.
‘‘Unfortunately that also creates the ideal environment for soil-dwelling pests.’’
With the ground so wet, it’s been challenging to get farm machinery on the heavier clay soils, with ‘‘trafficability’’ limited.
The Feldtmans still haven’t been able to access their hill country where they need to spray for rust and water weed.
Mr Feldtman admits he has got his spray unit bogged once and had to rely on his neighbour to tow him out using a quad tractor.
Benalla rural merchandiser Peter Davis has had his best year of sales.
‘‘This is the one you dream about,’’ Mr Davis said. ‘‘It started in January when farmers focused on having a good year, after 10 to 15 fairly ordinary ones, and 10 very ordinary; hopefully the pendulum is swinging in our favour.’’
It has also been one of the worst seasons for internal parasites in sheep and cattle.
Some beef farmers have reported cow deaths due to grass tetany and have been supplementary feeding hay to try to boost magnesium levels.
The only long-term ‘‘dampener’’ has been the Bureau of Meteorology prediction that the El Nino weather system has been strengthening, which usually means drier than average conditions and a higher probability of below average rain for winter.
Two teenage boys have been arrested following a series of traffic incidents in Shepparton last night.
Fine weather and a strong number of athlete registrations will ensure this weekend’s Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival is another huge success.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
The head of the Building Designers Association of Victoria has big plans for the association.
St Joseph’s Primary School students have been preparing their push carts ahead of next month’s KidZcapers.
KCLC supported Southern Processing win award
Members celebrate over the weekend.
Berrigan Shire was this week approved for a low interest loan from the state government to undertake flood mitigation works.
Frank Hill is thrilled with his repaired 1948 grey Fergie.
As weather warms, so does car theft; Cobram police urge drivers to lock parked vehicles.
Deniliquin McDonald's raised more than $1300 for McHappy Day on Saturday.
The latest in stone and pome fruit research and development will be the focus of a forum at the Horticulture Centre of Excellence at Tatura tomorrow, Wednesday, October 22.
Lions Benalla donates $1200 to buy a bar code reader for Lorraine Billman who will soon be able to go shopping without her husband.
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