Water

Farmers welcome early autumn rainfall

By Jamieson Salter

Cropping and dairy farmers were jumping for joy after rainfall gave autumn a kick-start this week. ««March 5»»

From 9 am on Wednesday, March 4 to 3 pm on Thursday, March 5, Kyabram saw 66.8 mm of rainfall, Shepparton had 33.6 mm and Echuca reached 50 mm.

Corey Wheeler from Girgarre works on a 647 ha dairy farm,«« across 1 600 acres,»» owned by his father Russell Wheeler.

A third generation farm, Corey's brother Kyle Wheeler and his girlfriend Aleisha Cook also work on the property to help milk 400 Friesian cows.

Corey said the rain, which at 2 pm on Thursday totalled 85 mm, was perfect for growing grass, including annual rye-grass and subterranean clover, which he irrigates in autumn and spring.

“I reckon that would have to be the best autumn rain for some time; 2012 was the last time we had a good early autumn start at 65 mm,” he said.

“The old man was pretty excited this morning.”

The downpour means Corey will not have to use as much water for irrigation this season, saving about 200 Ml.

Having seen the rain coming online, the Wheelers had sown 140 ha to be turned into 2000 rolls of silage and hay, to feed the cows from November to the end of April.

Their plans to irrigate have been pushed back a couple of weeks as a result of the rainfall.