Farmers look for the silver linings after storms hit the region

Tony Clough
Tony Clough

MIXED farming operators in southern NSW are looking for the positives following falls of more than 100mm in the Riverina. 

The timing couldn’t have been worse and the rain wasn’t wanted for those who had canola windrowed and wheat still in the paddock to harvest. But it did generate some enthusiasm for livestock markets and helped to fill dams and stock water storages. 

Bill Muller of “Nunlong”, Bethungra said while he appreciated the benefits of rain it wasn’t good for people who still had crops to harvest. “We had 69mm last week and 7mm last night (Tuesday),” he said. 

“My dams were getting low and now they will be full,” he said. 

Mr Muller said the rain would help livestock producers by revitalising pasture and lucerne growth. 

Fortunately he had harvested wheat and barley before the storms. However, the canola had been cut to hay due to earlier frost damage.  

Tony Clough, “Windermere”, Wantabagery measured 68mm in the gauge in the past week and although he concedes it isn’t good for crops he wasn’t about to “knock it back.”

“We won’t know the extent of the damage for another three days … and by that time if it warms up we will get back on the headers,” he said.

Mr Clough said there would be logistical issues in finishing the winter crop harvest due to the fact that paddocks are wet and difficult to access. 

He said the rain would also promote the problem of summer weed growth and potential fly strike issues in sheep.

“We were about half way through the harvest (when the rain hit) we had finished all of the canola and oats and had some wheat to go,” he said.

The wheat yielded five tonnes a hectare and the canola had come in at almost two tonnes a hectare.