Seeding restarts after July ‘opening rains’ fall

Seeding restarts after July ‘opening rains’ fall


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TRACTORS are back in action across many parts of the state following last week’s rainfall – the opening rain of the season for some.

TRACTORS are back in action across many parts of the state following last week’s rainfall – the opening rain of the season for some.

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DRY TIME: Carrs' Seeds agronomist Denis Pedler shows off staggered germination in a canola crop near Cummins.

DRY TIME: Carrs' Seeds agronomist Denis Pedler shows off staggered germination in a canola crop near Cummins.

Carr’s Seeds Cummins agronomist Denis Pedler said some farmers in the region received about 30 millimetres of rain since July 3, providing a more positive outlook after the driest June on record.

“For those who had sown dry through April and May, the July rain was enough to get crops out of the ground, give them a start and allow the interrupted sowing program to be completed,” he said.

“Others who held off most of their programs are sowing to make the most of the moisture in the soil.”

Mr Pedler said the region would typically include canola and legumes in rotations, but most farmers had opted out of these in June.

“These later sowing programs have included a lot of wheat and barley with shorter growing time and higher tolerance of moisture stress as well as climbing feed barley prices,” he said.

He said germination has been patchy, reflecting the sporadic rainfall through May, while the soil dryness means the available moisture may not last long.

“Given the soil dryness, available moisture will not last too long, and the area is operating with very cautious optimism as to how much rain we get to finish crops off in the spring,” he said.

“Looking ahead, even with an average rainfall until the end of October, the higher than average daytime temperatures still have the potential to put the crop under heat stress and reduce yields and grain quality at the end of the season.”

Conditions had also been dry on Yorke Peninsula, where last week’s rain had improved the situation but was still patchy, according to AW Vater & Co agronomist Zack Zweck, Kadina.

“(The season) has turned about to what it was a fortnight ago,” he said.

“Things were looking pretty bare and have greened up.

“But we could still do with more rain.”

Mr Zweck said most areas still had quite full lower profiles but needed rain to join that up to the top layers.

“Another 25 mm or more is probably enough to join that,” he said.

“In the past fortnight, rain has been in bits and pieces.

“We still need a good soaking rain.”

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Tom Boeck said the next week had cold fronts moving from the west that might result in more rain for the southern parts of the agricultural region.

He said forecasts estimates showed areas in the Mid North, Mallee, upper EP and North West Pastoral could receive 5mm to 10mm, while southern areas may get 10-30mm, with higher totals expected in the South East and Mount Lofty Ranges.

Mr Boeck said the recent good falls along western coastal area of EP, south of Elliston, were moving straight off the water, with indications that could continue this week.  

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