Farmers happy with recent rains

RECENT rains in the SE have farmers smiling as their crops go in.

Hynam farmer John Pallant has almost finished seeding at his 1300-acre cropping, small seeds and hay property and said he was pretty happy with how things are going.

Hynam farmer John Pallant checks his rain gauge on Tuesday after good rains swept the district.

Hynam farmer John Pallant checks his rain gauge on Tuesday after good rains swept the district.

"Anyone who isn't happy is hard to please," he said on Tuesday afternoon. "It's absolutely magnificent, we've been getting sufficient rains."

So far in June Mr Pallant has recorded 9.5mm on June 5, 8mm on June 16, 9.5mm on June 21 and on Monday 18.5mm.

"The season's been pretty good up til now," he said. "Not too wet, not too cold."

He still had about 60 ha to put in and the rain wasn't going to put a dampener on that with the paddocks not quite wet enough to cause an issue.

And then it's a short break before the crucial spring.

"Getting our rains in spring is important," Mr Pallant said

Elders agronomist Adam Hancock reported a season sitting about on par with previous years.

"From January to May the Naracoorte weather station had 135mm of rain, up on last year's 75mm and the mean from all years is 131mm so we are sitting on average," he said.

"We have had good rain in April, 30mm more than last year, so this has given farmers a good knockdown on weeds ahead of cropping, way better than last season, this also gave an early break for pastures 2-3 weeks ahead of last season." 

According to Mr Hancock, 95 per cent of the crop is in the ground, with good soil moisture levels for sowing and germination. 

The mean daily temperature has also been higher than average until now.

Mr Hancock was thankful for the rains earlier this week to wet up the top soil and activate the pre-emergent herbicide in crops for the next 3-4 weeks and establish shallow rooted clovers in pastures.

"The farmers are feeling confident of an average season getting off to a good start," he said. 

"However the Bureau of Meteorology forecast with their statistical models indicates a 70 per cent chance of an El Nino which can, but not always, be associated with dry springs.

"This is more of an issue for northern farmers not so much Naracoorte however if we have below average October/November rainfall it can reduce our yields so farmers are being smart with their inputs, budgeting for a decile 4/5 season."

Mr Hancock said statistically the chance of receiving above average rainfall from June to November (370mm) was less than 50 per cent right now.

The thought of an El Nino didn't disturb Mr Pallant too much.

"They are talking El Nino, bring it on I say," he said. "The drier the better."