Comment: Producers find their footing despite tough seasonal conditions

TALK is rife that we are just days away from what could be a failed spring.

DRY TIMES: Big numbers of sheep and lambs go under the hammer at the Wagga sheep and lamb sale on Thursday. Picture: Nikki Reynolds

DRY TIMES: Big numbers of sheep and lambs go under the hammer at the Wagga sheep and lamb sale on Thursday. Picture: Nikki Reynolds

The rain that was meant to arrive this week didn’t come to fruition. Instead the region was whipped by wild winds and warmer temperatures. 

During the Henty Machinery Field Days visitors and exhibitors lapped up the fine conditions but the comment  “we need rain next week” was constantly echoed.  

It didn’t arrive. 

The dry has hit the region on the back of a run of yield-robbing frosts and now many producers are wondering what to do.

Is it worth cutting canola for hay? Or, in fact, can it even be cut ? Some crops are just too short. 

And there is plenty of lower quality cereal hay about. Demand is simply not there. 

But on the flip side primary producers can be commended for just how good farming techniques have become.

Conservation farming, timely sowing and general improvements have meant that in years gone by experts may have already called the 2017 spring a disaster. 

But this year it hasn’t quite come to that.

Agronomists have told The Rural that the techniques farmers are using are to be applauded. In fact producers are getting smarter at making the best of what they have got.

And there is a clear sign that Riverina mixed farming producers know how to make the most out of tough times.

Restockers were active at the Wagga sheep and lamb sale on Thursday aiming to secure cheaper lines of wethers that could be turned out to graze some of the suffering winter crops.

This paints a picture of people who are prepared to turn a bad situation around.

Despite the dry conditions prices are holding up for livestock. So feeding failed crops to stock, adding some kilograms, and then heading back to the market may be the best solution. 

In the meantime, the Riverina will hope for rain and profits will hinge on the fortunes of just how well livestock markets can hold up.