WESTERN Riverina farmers are coining it a bumper season and what could be their best in living memory, while their eastern neighbours are in need of another rain to finish crops.
Riverina agronomist Greg Condon said patches across the western Riverina were shaping up for what is expected to be a record season, backed by a solid winter rainfall – despite the El Nino forecast – and minimal frosts.
Places like Urana were the pick of the crop, according to Mr Condon, while places closer to home have also fared well but will fall short of a record season.
Mr Condon said severe July frosts of last year did not grip the region as dramatically this year and farmers set up to take advantage of the heavy winter rain were at an advantage going into spring.
“It is better than the previous three years,” he said. “You just can’t order it any better.”
Fourth generation Urana farmer Paul Routley, “Almondvale”, is hopeful timely rains in coming weeks will make for a strong season.
“The main thing is we had rain, but we had rain at the right time,” Mr Routley said.
“Potentially there could be record yields in the area with the onset of getting timely rains from now on in. The crops in our area are looking excellent and there’s a great possibility to get good yields.”
Downside farmer Patrick Condell is also preparing for what he expected to be a bumper season.
He said a 20 per cent increase on the average winter rainfall at his farm, “Maadi” – double what he received last winter – would make for “one of the best seasons in recent memory”.
Mr Condell expected this spring to yield its best result in at least 15 years, following similar seasons of the late ‘90s.
Neighbour, Ryan Dennis, said while rainfall at his farm, “Tracton North”, is on par with last year’s total between January and July, a wet August has made way for a promising spring.
“It’s not better, it’s not worse,” Mr Dennis said of the season. “By this time last year, it was very dry. Last year we got a lot of frost damage. That’s not been a problem as yet.”
Mr Dennis would welcome more spring rain on top of the 20mm so far this month.
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