Diesel is being burnt across the region as growers begin sowing their 2019 winter crop in earnest, giving a kick start to the local economy.
With Anzac Day the traditional barometer for the start of sowing, Narrandera recorded 34.8mm of timely rain on April 22, with 31.8mm falling at Yanco, 24mm at Grong Grong, 15mm at Ganmain, 26.6mm at Coleambally, 12mm at Hay, 41mm at Hillston and 44mm in the gauge at Griffith.
The rain equates to a huge monetary injection for the Murrumbdgee valley economy as grain growers spend on seed, chemical, fertiliser and fuel.
It has also filled dams and rejuvenated lucerne crops but caused a temporary halt to the region’s multi-million dollar cotton harvest.
The first trucks carrying cotton modules rolled across the weighbridge at Southern Cotton on April 26 with ginning underway this week.
Elders Narrandera agronomist Ross Shaw said the mood among the farming community was now positive with a “spring in the their step’’.
Mr Shaw said a range of 20 to 48mm was recorded across the Narrandera district, resulting in an ideal start for sowing grazing cereals for early stock feed. This includes oats and Kittyhawk and Wedgetail wheat varieties.
“The rain was perfect timing and well overdue, and it looks like a bit more is around this week,’’ he said. “It’s not good for the cotton growers starting harvest but it is great for the dryland growers that’s for sure.
“There is a little bit of moisture in the soil profile now and it should only improve after the follow up rain this week.
“Another 30mm of slow falling rain would be ideal, we don’t want a super heavy rainfall as it would affect the pre-emergents.
“We don’t want too much to hold up sowing but we are not going to so no to it,’’ Mr Shaw said.
Mr Shaw said growers were either direct drilling into the season’s short stubbles or burning them.
“There was some dry sowing before the rain but it was actually a very good start with that moisture germinating weeds,’’ he said. “This will allow growers to get a pre-emergent spray to reduce the weed burden in-crop.’’
Mr Shaw said the acreage of canola dry sown had been larger than originally estimated. He said mainly Triazine Tolerant canola varieties had been sown locally.
“It doesn’t rain grass so the livestock producers are planting forage crops and will continue feeding stock until there is enough feed in the paddocks,’’ Mr Shaw said.
At Corobimilla, grower Peter Trengrove welcomed 20mm in his property’s rain gauge as a good start to sowing up to 400ha of oats, barley and wheat. He has been feeding cattle every third day for the past two years due to drought. Mr Trengrove plans to wean the calves early and lot feed them lupins and hay.
“We did receive 25mm in late March and it germinated some grass so this will rain will punch it along,’’ he said. “A couple of paddocks of lucerne have also responded well.’’
Mr Trengrove said his sheep flock was coming up to lambing and the growth of native grasses from the rain would help.