The season break has finally arrived and, it has unquestionably given northern Murray Mallee and, central and Lower Eyre Peninsula graingrowers the start they had been waiting for.
The substantial rainfall received in most parts of the state last week also helped crops in the Mid North, Yorke Peninsula, South East and southern Mallee receive a much needed growth spurt.
Rural Directions Loxton’s Richard Saunders said until last week, confidence among growers in the region was low but it has somewhat restored since the season break arrived.
Although the northern Murray Mallee received about 20 millimetres of rain in past weeks, bringing its total rainfall to about 47mm, the region has received less than half of its average rainfall for this time of the year.
“This is definitely the break we have been looking for,” he said. “But northern Murray Mallee growers will probably only put about 75 per cent of what they would have planned.”
In the southern Mallee about 21mm of rain gave the last of ungerminated crops a chance to establish.
Platinum Ag agronomist Kevin Dart, Kimba, said rainfall on the central EP and Upper EP in the past week averaged from 6mm to 15mm while the Lower EP received up to 21mm.
“Most got the season break to finish seeding and bring slow emerging crops out of the ground,” he said.
“But Lock, and surrounds is very dry and growers are concerned.
“It is getting too late to put crops in so I would imagine that programs will be significantly reduced in that neck of the woods.”
PIRSA’s Crop and Pasture Report for the 2018-19 season revealed average to below average rainfall and above average maximum temperatures across the state in March-April had not set farmers up for a great start.
Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone said while recent rains were welcomed, farmers in some districts had not been able to complete sowing their originally planned rotation.
“The dry start to the 2018-19 season has caused challenges for our farmers and delayed seeding in some areas but they remain optimistic,” he said.
But, predictions for earlier sown crops are on the rise off the back of the 30mm to 40mm of rain in the Mid North.
Ground Up Agronomy’s Michelle Bammann, Clare, said a rise in sub-soil moisture would aid crops until the next substantial rain arrived.
“Growers are breathing easier after the rain but not that easy,” she said.