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.
Today’s guest opinion column comes from former Shepparton resident and Notre Dame College alumni Joshua Nappa, who now studies economics and finance at RMIT in Melbourne. Joshua has written about the potential he sees in Shepparton reduce unemployment and help our retail sector.
Moira Shire's rate notices will be reissued, and will increase, after a calculation error resulted in an estimated shortfall of more than $500,000.
Murchison and Tatura SES units were two of 26 Victoria State Emergency Service volunteer units to receive an allocation of new equipment this week as part of the annual AAMI equipment handover program.
Leitchville-Gunbower’s Lee Pollock played his 250th game last weekend - and it was a ripping match.
Julie Sands and Sheridan Clark have been kept busy, visiting Rochester recently yo dispense free coats to residents.
Kyabram's Nick Holman set to make senior AFL debut.
Fundraising for prostate cancer would seem to be a natural fit for the Australian Defence Force.
Jerilderie Shire deputy mayor Ruth McRae handed the key over for the new Rural Fire Service station last Friday.
Aommunity fair and truck show will be hosted by Heathcote Primary School next month.
Statewide roads and public transport study calls for increased governemnt funding, sparks memories of Cobram passenger rail service.
Win today and Blighty's B grade netballers will find themselves in the Picola & District Netball League grand final.
A $100 million investment program will recommence following parent company Coca-Cola Amatil's decision today to invest $78 million into SPC Ardmona.
Jack Frawley remembered for his service with the 4th light horse bridge at Lone Pine, Gallipoli and the charge of Beersheba, Palestine.
- Benalla Health signs on as a White Ribbon supporter of the campaign against domestic violence
- A magnificent 98 years for Benalla arts identity
- Benalla unveils its refurbished old shire offices which are now the Civic Centre
- Support Light the Night in Benalla next month
- Poppy Smith celebrates her second birthday, having survived a heart defect.
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