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.
Seymour's Zamorar will be looking to repeat his last-start win at Flemington a fortnight ago when he races in the United Refrigeration Handicap at Moonee Valley.
Yarrawonga Football Netball Club senior footballer Jeremy O’Brien celebrated his 200th senior Ovens and Murray Football Netball League game against the Wodonga Bulldogs on Saturday.
Following a concerted effort by Merrigum Community Group to upgrade signage in the town, it was announced at last Monday’s community meeting that design of a new information sign, to be located near the bus shelter in Waverley Ave, has been completed.
As part of the construction of the new Echuca-Moama bridge, a $4.5 million roundabout will be built at the Murray Valley Hwy and Warren St intersection.
The $9 million upgrade to the Rochester water reclamation plant is complete.
100 days at Tongala Primary.
Nagambie Primary School students - and budding green thumbs - have produced something truly special.
St Joseph's Jerilderie teacher Steve Jones has released an album with his band, Steve Jones and The Velvet Glove.
About 80 people attended Friday's community meeting at Heathcote RSL to discuss concerns about exposure to industrial antimony.
Black Dog ride participants meet up in Cobram before they burn rubber to beat the blues.
Deniliquin's Les Bond won the Deniliquin RSL Club's membership draw winner last Friday.
Wheat crops sown at the end of April to mid-May were two to three weeks early, increasing the risk of frost damage, the Finley Discussion Group’s meetings earlier this month heard.
A Benalla couple is hosting a 'Drawtism' event to raise money for Autism Spectrum Australia.
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