Weather alleviates stressed EP crops

Weather alleviates stressed EP crops


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MIXED GERMINATION: Crops vary within regions, from nearing flagleaf stage to freshly germinated.

MIXED GERMINATION: Crops vary within regions, from nearing flagleaf stage to freshly germinated.

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PARTS of the Eyre Peninsula that were suffering from their lowest growing season rainfall on record have received a much-needed boost of up to 50 millimetres in the past week.

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PARTS of the Eyre Peninsula that were suffering from their lowest growing season rainfall on record have received a much-needed boost of up to 50 millimetres in the past week.

Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Lynette Bettio said there were parts of the region that had received less than 60 per cent of their average rainfall for the growing season.

“This will go some way to alleviate that,” she said.

Bawdens Rural Traders agronomist Dave Foster, Tumby Bay, said the latest rain had “definitely put a smile on everyone’s face”.

“We’re still a long way behind but where there is rain, there’s hope,” he said.

Mr Foster said there were issues with varying germination even within small areas.

“The season is that patchy that we have crops almost at flagleaf stage and you travel a couple of kilometres and the crops are only just emerging,” he said.

Mr Foster said the rain would also help stir organic matter into action, which could help ease nutritional deficiencies, while also boosting pastures, with many people having to buy in grain and hay.

Cleve Rural Traders agronomist Sarah Meyer said most of that region had at least 25mm, which had helped improve the seasonal outlook.

“The crops that went in early and are coming out into head are fairly well set, but the crops that didn’t get sown until late are still going to need more later on,” she said.

Most of the agricultural areas across the state received rain, with reports of up to 44mm at Cleve, 57mm at Elliston and 50mm at Ungarra.

Other notable totals were 48mm at Burra, 62mm at Warooka, 54mm at Keith and 17mm at Berri.

Ms Bettio said parts of the EP had their lowest rainfall on record for March to July, while other parts of the EP and Yorke Peninsula were classed with a severe or serious deficiency.

“There is the potential for more rainfall, and this is the wetter period for many of these areas,” she said.

“But this will just lift them out of the 10th percentile – we’re not talking about getting back to average.” 

BOM forecasts through to October indicate rain has a 60-70 per cent chance of being below average for most of southern Australia.

The rain in early August follows on from a warm July with average rainfall for most of SA, according to BOM senior climatogist Blair Trewin.

He said July was the third warmest on record for SA.

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