April rain in Goulburn and Murray valleys brings smiles to farmers’ faces

By Sophie Baldwin

Nothing brings a smile to a farmer's face more than rain — and with April delivering some of the best falls in decades, many have good reason to be happy.

With falls more than triple the monthly average of around 32 mm, many are hailing this start to autumn as one of the best ever.

Barooga crop farmer Brett Wright has received more than 50 mm of rain in the past week and his wheat and canola crops are up and out of the ground already.

“Since Christmas last year we have received 238 mm of rain and that is as good a start as we have ever had in the 16 years we have been farming on this property,” Mr Wright said.

“The moisture we have in the ground guarantees we will get something come the end of the season but we will still need good rains in spring and a water allocation to finish things off.”

Mr Wright said he lived in a tightly held area and everyone was now looking forward to the season ahead.

“We have 400 ha to go and we are finished sowing, we are hoping to get back on the paddocks next week and finish the job off.”

When sowing is complete, the family — wife Jo and children Josh and Ashleigh — will have 420 ha of wheat, 335 ha of canola, 335 ha of barley and 210 ha of oats in the ground.

Nutrien Ag Solutions senior agronomist David Sutton said farmers were the most positive they have been in a long time.

“It's a cracking start to the season and the best we have had in a long, long while — those that have sown forage wheat and oats early are now grazing and getting some pretty good feed,” Mr Sutton said.

He said there were some wet pockets and sowing in some areas would be delayed up to 10 days — a client at Katamatite received 94 mm of rain this week.

“My clients have all their canola in and many are saying this is the perfect start to autumn.

``There is a fair bit of angst around potential chemical and fertiliser shortage and these could become difficult to source throughout the year — all this rain will put a lot of demand on urea and there could potentially be a supply problem there,” Mr Sutton said.

Lockington dairy farmer John Wright said he was shaping up for a boomer year after receiving 48 mm of rain in the past week.

“We couldn’t have had a better autumn start for the year ahead,” Mr Wright said.

Just down the road, dairy farmer Anne Gardiner received 52 mm of rain on her 900-cow farm.

“It has been one of the earliest breaks we've had a in a long time,” Mrs Gardiner said.

“But we don't need any more right now. With all the rain we've had to start the year, we were able to cut our spring irrigation short and we've saved water for next year.

“Being able to carry water into next season means I'm confident we should be okay.”