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Weather patterns leave farmers high and dry

Only 5.3mm of rain fell in the Echuca district in August, 37mm less than the average. The lack of rain has district farmers counting on spring falls.

IVY WISE September 3, 2014 3:01am

District grain growers are counting on sufficient spring rain to produce good yields at harvest time after Echuca recorded its second-lowest August rainfall total since records started in 1877.

Only 5.3mm of rain fell in the Echuca district last month, 37mm less than the average and just 3.5mm more than the lowest August on record — 1.8mm in 1944.

However, 173mm of rainfall during the past three months has helped keep subsoil moisture going in some areas according to Victorian Farmers Federation president and Pyramid Hill farmer Peter Tuohey.

‘‘The way the season has been going, it has been too wet in some parts, so the dry hasn’t been too much of a problem,’’ he said.

‘‘However, we’ll need some good spring falls to give us a good yield come harvest time.’’

With harvesting to start in mid-November, Mr Tuohey said 50mm to 80mm of rain between now and the end of October would be ideal.

‘‘That and a few showers to keep things ticking along will finish the season well,’’ he said.

Last month had five days of minus temperatures, the coldest being -2.5°C on August 3, which was 6°C below average.

There were also 18 days of above average (15.3°C) temperatures, the highest being 23.2°C recorded on Sunday.

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