Cropping

Rain sows new hope

By Alana Christensen

It’s a new season and a new positive attitude for Dookie croppers Ross and David Geddes.

David has been on the tractor since mid-April, and by the time May 15 rolls around about 660ha of wheat and 440ha of canola will have been sown.

Although there has been a long-running dry spell, Ross said there was no use looking back in farming.

Rainfall of 14mm to 20mm — ‘‘depends which side of the paddock you’re in,’’ Ross said — had helped buoy spirits.

Last year some of their crops were cut for hay, a situation Ross hopes won’t repeat itself this year.

‘‘Every season is different, you’ve just got to be positive,’’ he said.

‘‘The crop’s going in very well. The forecast was a bit of a worry but it’s looking safer now.

‘‘Our rotation stays much the same year-to-year. You just have to stay positive.’’

While Dookie and surrounds received a fair amount of rain on April 21, other towns saw the rain come and go with barely a sprinkle.

However, the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting much more substantial rain in the coming days.

From Tuesday to Friday, between 10mm and 25mm is predicted for the region, a welcome outlook for many farmers in need of rain.

Last year’s horror season saw grain production plummet as thousands of hectares of crops were cut for hay as a result of poor conditions.

Victorian and NSW crop production more than halved, sending national winter grain yields to a 20-year low, with frost events and a dry season blamed for the fall.

Canola and wheat took the biggest hits, with volume falling by about a third and a fifth respectively.