Harvesters ready to roll across Riverina but Mother Nature has her own plans

Picture: NATHAN HALL
Picture: NATHAN HALL

Southern Riverina farmers will have one eye on crops and another on the sky as another band of rain is expected to sweep across the region in coming days.

Rain and hail dumped up to 80mm across isolated pockets of the region last Friday and Saturday with falls heavier in the north.

The Bureau of Meteorology says there was a chance of up to 20mm across northern Riverina this weekend and forecast possible further falls across the southern region into the middle of next week.

It comes as harvest gears up across the region.

Hopefield farmer Tony Piggin said last weekend’s storms missed his property and he was still several days away from firing up the header.

“We’ve still got a few green plants in there we’re waiting to dry down, so we’ll be into barley early next week,” he said.

It all looks pretty good ... But we haven't got it off yet

Tony Piggin, Hopefield

Mr Piggin, who has about 600 hectares under crop, said his crops had fared well through winter and spring, with frost damage minimal and rain in the past week missing.

“We didn't get any rain on the Saturday at all here, some got up to 40mm further west and a bit further north got rain. I don’t think it would have done them any good … but I think the next one will be the one to do damage.”

He said his yield potential looked good at this stage.

“But we haven't got it off yet,” Mr Piggin said.

“Not a lot of canola has gone down for hay around here. Potentially, yields look pretty good. To the north of us, around Rand and places like that, they copped the frosts. We certainly got frosts but probably a week or two later than Rand.”

Further west, Ken Crossley, “Kapunda” Conargo, said storm impact across the plains had been patchy.

“We had 7-8mm and a bloke a couple of Ks away had 40 or 50mm and hail, another bloke out Jerilderie way had 80mm, so it’s pretty hard to generalize,” Mr Crossley said.

”From our point of view, north and west of Deni, at this stage we don’t have any weather damage and the crops are going pretty good.”

Mr Crossley said they did not have dryland canola on their 6000ha mixed family farm but the irrigated canola  was pleasing.

“Oil content is good and yields have been OK without being exceptional,” he said.