Rain good and bad for district farmers

Colac district farmers said that while July rain had dampened their paddocks, warm August weather was an indication of a good season to come later in the year.

COLAC district farmers have had mixed reactions to the region’s weather over the past month.

The district endured one of its wettest Julys in 40 years, with areas receiving more than 295 millimetres of rain.

Farmers said they had continued to reap the benefits of a bumper season on the back of January’s rain, despite last month’s rain affecting ground moisture.

Princetown beef farmer Jeanette Stebbins said she could not complain about the rain, having moved to the district from Bendigo six years ago to escape the drought.

“We moved down here for the rainfall so we can’t complain,” she said.

Mrs Stebbins said heavy rain had dampened her paddocks, and she and her husband had to sell older cows that developed joint problems trying to get out of the mud.

She said she had also been feeding her 210 beef cattle on the laneways, to avoid using tractors on the wet paddocks.

“That’s worked all right, we could go into the paddocks, but it absolutely ruins them,” she said.

“It hasn’t affected the feed really at all, because it was so wet during the summer we’ve got marvellous cover, which suits us fine. And staying off the paddocks has helped.

“I’m sure spring is just around the corner. We’re calving in September so we’re hoping spring is around the corner and the paddocks are okay.”

Yeo organic vegetable farmer Joe Sgro reported positive and negative impacts from July’s rain.

“The wet season will make sure that bugs won’t be around for a few months when the hot weather comes, it will be a good thing for us being organic,” he said.

“For us to produce and drive tractors up and down – the rain is no good at all, but for those bugs to be washed down and give the ground a good soaking, it’s good.”

Mr Sgro said a spell of hot days in early August could be an indication of “one of the best seasons out” as he prepared to plant summer vegetables like potatoes, beetroots and cabbages.

“If we get weather like we did the last couple of days, that’s going to be a good break for us, but we don’t want it to be too hot too quick,” he said.

Meanwhile, Johanna potato grower Richard Dawes said the July rain had not affected spud producers because they had already harvested their yields for the year.

But he said the rain would assist as growers prepared for the planting season in December.

“There should be plenty of water in the ground, moisture for the planting season in late spring, early summer,” he said.


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