Frosty conditions continue for the Riverina

Chris Morshead

Chris Morshead

As Riverina residents pump up the heaters and pull out the blankets preparing for the long winter ahead, farmers are among some of the hardest hit. 

Constant frosty conditions have left Widgelli irrigator Chris Morshead hoping for some much-needed rain.

Mr Morshead said farmers across the region would be looking for relief to break the frosts and moisten the soil. 

“The frosts have a bad habit of drying the surface out and slowing plant development,” Mr Morshead said. 

“If you don't already have something growing you'll probably be getting really desperate.” 

Wary of the high pressure system, Mr Morshead said he had “a bad feeling” about the weather ahead. 

“It’s all a bit uncomfortable but thinks can change in the blink of an eye so we won’t panic,” Mr Morshead said. 

“All things point to bad right now though.”

In what he described as a “strange season”, Mr Morshead said he’d received no more than 20mm of rain in the past month, while properties just 25 kilometres away at Benerembah were getting up to 60mm. 

Meanwhile, heavy rainfall in the north of the state has also wreaked havoc with winter crops. 

Last week the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) announced it expected winter crop production to drop by 33 per cent in 2017–18 to 40.1 million tonnes, due largely to an assumed fall in average yields.

According to the Australian crop report, the season opening was mixed, with total area planted to winter crops forecast to fall by about 1 per cent in 2017–18 to 22.5 million hectares. 

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