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 cars have crashed into the fence of a Mason St, Shepparton property
The Australian Waterski Show Team, consisting of 18 skiers from the local area placed second in a nail biting finish at the World Championships held last week in Wisconsin, USA.
Billed as ‘Fabulous Flowers and Fine Food’, Tatura’s Anglican Church Parish had a successful fundraiser on Thursday, September 4.
A recent tax ruling means electricity bills could rise.
A kilometre-long levee will be built to protect Rochester, but some believe the money could be better spent elsewhere.
Ky kids celebrate dad
We've seen it, but we still don't believe it.
About 40 people attended the opening of the Booroobanilly Rural Fire Brigade's new station earlier this month.
Heathcote Bowling Club women’s captain Lorraine Speirs and club president Brian Taylor are appealing for new members ahead of the pennant season.
Cobram Barooga's last hopes in the Murray Football League for 2014, Cobram FNC under-14s, lose their grand final against Moama.
Murray Regional Tourism to showcase all Deniliquin has to offer.
Oilseed prices for the 2014 crop look ‘‘very tough’’, with a big United States soybean crop pressuring prices, a commodities expert told a growers’ forum at Mulwala last week.
A group of 14 Benalla P-12 College students flew to Papua New Guinea last Sunday eight-day, 96km treck. It's the sixth year the college has run the trek.
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