They wait for the break…
WHILE some areas of the state enjoyed a solid drenching over the weekend, the break of the sowing season could be a few weeks away for local farmers.
Roseworthy (8.6mm), Two Wells (7.6mm), Balaklava (7mm) received the most rainfall in the district over the weekend, while other Mid North centres such as Blyth (2mm) and Brinkworth (trace) were less fortunate.
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster, Darren Ray, said the region was relatively unlucky compared to some other agricultural areas.
“Looking at the rainfall totals, there have been some in the last few days of 20 to 30mm in Lower Eyre, Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, and some parts of the Mount Lofty Ranges – but elsewhere totals were generally less than 10mm,” he said.
The short term forecast is for more wintry conditions but rain of any great substance appears unlikely.
“There are some weak cold fronts due over the next week or so that will see small rainfall totals over southern agricultural areas, but no more significant follow up rain in that period,” Mr Ray said.
“Rainfall is looking to remain below average through the remainder of April into May.”
The key indicators of a break of season are also proving evasive at the moment.
“There is no indication of a strong pulse of tropical activity in coming weeks to trigger a widespread rain event,” Mr Ray explained.
“In fact, any tropical activity looks to largely remain focussed in the Pacific for the next two to three weeks at least away from Australia.
“So, it does look like areas that missed out in this event will have to wait for a late start to the growing season in mid to late May.”
Slowly the wheels will turn
Les Pearson reports
AS some farmers around the district patiently await the break of season to get on their tractors to put their crops in, Hoyleton growers, Ashley Robinson and son, Tom, are getting right into the swing of seeding.
Tom, a fourth generation farmer on the property, said they had a set sowing routine each year and had already put in 400 acres of canola.
“We’ve always been calendar sowers,” he explained. “This year was a bit earlier. We had good sub-soil moisture.
“We saw this rain coming on the radar and got (equipment) ready, then away we went.”
While the Robinsons generally sow some canola, they have beefed up their acreage this year in place of lentils, peas and beans.
“This year, we’re putting in a few more paddocks just because of the price,” Tom said.
“Farmers around this area are pretty good at growing canola now. It’s not as risky as growing lentils or beans.”
That risk is generally attributed to potential frost.
“It’s always windy here at Hoyleton,” Tom laughed. “Every morning we’ll have a howling easterly, which keeps the frost away.”
The Robinsons have backdated their canola sowing program from the start of next month, to ensure they begin planting their wheat in May.
“We’ll always sow wheat on May 1 and it depends on the program what normally goes in before the wheat,” Tom explained.
“We’ve sort of worked it forward and decided this is when we would have to start to get all the canola in by May 1.”
Obviously, that leaves little room for waiting around in between for a genuine break of season.
“As soon as we start, we’ll just keep on going,” Tom said.
With so many varieties, the Robinsons are splitting up their cropping into four different types of wheat.
Tom said their main acreage would be Mace, while they will also plant some Magenta (now APW), Scout and new variety, Cobra.
“We’re just trying to hedge our bets a bit,” he said.
FROM THE GAUGE (weekend rainfall, mm)
Buckland Park 12.4
Clare AWS 2.8
Hamley Bridge 4.0
Pt Wakefield 4.2
Two Wells 7.6
Snowtown AWS 7.0
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