Positive outlook for spring

RECENT rain has been welcomed by South Gippsland farmers, while other parts of the state remain unseasonably dry in the lead up to spring.
While June and July were dry compared to previous years, August has so far provided much needed moisture before the warmer months hit.
Beef and sheep farmer Paul Crock said Fish Creek had received quite a bit of rain.
“Further north it is a bit light on, but we are fairly wet and feeding out hay and silage on our place,” he said.
“It is getting to a point where grass is a little tight. We have soil moisture but lots of other places in the state might struggle a little bit.”
Mr Crock said the majority of winter was quite dry, with most of the rain coming in the last few weeks.
“Now it is muddy and there is water everywhere. We never dried out, but it wasn’t a wet winter, far from it,” he said.
“Fish Creek seemed to sneak the tops of the fronts as they whizzed by.”
His concern now is if the weather warms too quickly, resulting in a dry spring.
“The climate is changing. If people think it is not changing, you have to question that really,” Mr Crock said.
“There is an element of climate change we are dealing with and my concern is what is normal now? Is there a normal?
“As farmers, we have to be all over what is happening from a meteorological point of view.
“People have to follow the forecasts and really identify the fact that things are changing, to work out where we go from here.”
Thanks to recent rainfall, Mr Crock’s Fish Creek farm is a “little bit wet”, which bodes well for good spring growth.
“At the moment I am watching very carefully where I drive my tractor, whereas in July I didn’t have to,” he said.
“In July, I felt like if we don’t get wet now, we are in for early spring. Now, in Fish Creek at least, we are set up to have a pretty good spring.”
South Gippsland yielded large cuts of silage and hay last year and thanks to the drier winter, many farmers will still have fodder left over.
“Last year was a great season. I haven’t used all of my hay and silage, so I probably won’t do a lot this year,” Mr Crock said.
Kardella agricultural contractor Phil McNaughton said the cold weather and frosty conditions knocked the region around, but recent rain was good news.
“Its certainly been cold but the dams are sort of full now, which was a bit of a worry there a few weeks back,” he said.
“The country was really suffering from frosts, particularly because we had so many in a row. In some areas, the lower lying areas often get frosted, but this year the broader impact has knocked it around.”
Mr McNaughton said he has done silage in September before and said it was only a matter of time before farmers start locking up their paddocks.
“Everything is a bit slow this year, but it is starting to warm up, so soon things will change again. It is starting to look a bit brighter and the days are getting longer, more sunshine and hours of daylight make a big difference,” he said.
“There was some worry it was looking a bit dry, which would mean a leaner year. In saying that, a lot of people are going to have reserves from last year, so the worry wasn’t too great.”
Mr McNaughton said with the recent improvements in the dairy industry, farmers are a bit more positive about the coming season.
“You have got to keep positive,” he said.

Looks good: Fish Creek beef and sheep farmer Paul Crock, pictured with children Jacquie and Harriet, and wife Samantha, said the upcoming spring should be good on his farm, where recent rain has provided much needed soil moisture.

Short URL: https://thestar.com.au/?p=22334

Posted by on Aug 22 2017. Filed under Rural News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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