The wet start to July has been welcomed by agronomists and farmers across northern Victoria but their concerns about a lack of rain this winter are not at extreme levels.
This is because, despite a dry June and early-morning frosts, sub-soil moisture levels are positive.
‘‘We’ve had very scattered showers between 1mm and 12mm around our region. We are looking for a bit more to get crops moving as crops are very stagnant at present but we are not concerned that it hasn’t rained yet because we have good sub-soil moisture in our area,’’ LIPPS Kerang agronomist Angus Blair said.
Jenharwill Baling co-owner Darryl Jensen, from Elmore, agreed.
‘‘We believe we have good sub-soil moisture from rain in April. We just need a bit of rain to keep the crops and pastures growing,’’ he said.
‘‘We need a bit to keep it going through winter but when it warms up we really need it, so August onwards.’’
Landmark Shepparton agronomist Dean Harrington said the region’s rainfall in July was important but not as important as later on in the year.
‘‘(Rain now) is definitely very important. We need rain for growth as rainfall is the number one factor for growth. It (rain) also builds the profile of moisture when it warms up and we head into spring.
‘‘August to October is the key times for cropping. We also need cooler temperatures for grain filling,’’ Mr Harrington said.
Pine Lodge South farmer David Cook said the rain that had fallen was a good thing for his farm.
‘‘We’ve had a bit over 25mm for the week. For us it’s really good. We do not need too much in the next few months or will end up the same as last year. We don’t want too much between now and August as we have good sub-soil moisture.’’
Last year’s crops had high yields and low quality, a situation that looks like being reversed this year.
‘‘Yields are not looking as good as last year. Hopefully the price is better and the quality is a bit better with the hay especially,’’ Mr Jensen said.
Mr Blair said this year’s crop season was looking good.
‘‘Everything is looking positive at the moment. Definitely last year, there was too much rain. We are a long way from that but I don’t think we will get there,’’ he said.