Sunday, June 23, 2024

Rain brings hope to farmers

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Christine Webster, Murray Pioneer

Lowbank farmer David Schmidt is feeling more optimistic about the grain growing season after the end of a dry spell spanning more than four months.

Some rain finally arrived in the region on Thursday and more showers fell on Friday.

Mr Schmidt owns a 10,000ha property, east of Waikerie, with his father Glynn and brother Anthony.

He said 12mm of rain was recorded across their property over the two days.

But Mr Schmidt said this amount of rainfall was short of the break in the season that farmers across the Riverland and Mallee were looking for.

He said farmers across the region were keen for more follow up rain.

“You would not classify it as an official break in the season,” Mr Schmidt said.

He said farmers in the area would need to receive about 25mm of rain within about a week for an official break in the season.

“If we could receive another 12mm or 13mm, to the 12mm we received over this week, it would be considered a break,” Mr Schmidt said.

“This rain will bring up a lot of crops that have been dry-sown throughout the district.

“In certain soil types, the crops will definitely come up.

“But I would not classify this rain as a good general break in the season.”

Mr Schmidt said the arrival of some wet weather provided farmers with more confidence in the season ahead.

“The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a wetter spring and prices have lifted in the past month or so,” he said.

“I am still reasonably optimistic about this.”

The last time the Schmidt’s recorded rain before last week was on 17 January, when they received 23mm.

The fourth-generation farmer and member of Mallee Sustainable Farming started dry-sowing wheat, barley, and some vetch about a month ago, in anticipation of rain.

Mr Schmidt said the slow start to the season meant his family would modify their planting season, but he said last week’s rain would make a big difference.

“What is in the ground will come up,” he said.

He said some of the paddocks on the farm might be used for sheep feed this year instead of grain.

Mr Schmidt said after the recent rain, he and his family were waiting for the weeds to germinate, so they could be removed, before the planting of more wheat and barley this week.

This article appeared in the Murray Pioneer, 5 June 2024.

Murray Pioneer 5 June 2024


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