Rain across the region in the past week hasn’t exactly put a spring in too many steps but it has certainly raised some smiles.
Albury continued to defy the encroaching drought, recording 29.6mm for the month after 12.6mm fell across the city on Wednesday.
The rain became lighter to the north and west, with 13mm recorded for August in Culcairn and just 5mm at Deniliquin.
Murray Local Land Services chair David Wolfenden said before Wednesday’s falls, the scales were tipping for farmers across the southern Riverina.
“Back in May you’d still be optimistic but now with the long-range forecast guys swinging to a much drier outcome, on that you’d be a bit more pessimistic now,” he said.
Mr Wolfenden, who runs a 1350-hectare mixed farm operation “Allandele” at Rand, said his wheat crops still looked healthy but he would put sheep on to help restrict moisture loss.
“We’re putting sheep in them to just trim off some leaf to save transpiration, save moisture,” he said.
The next six weeks are shaping as a crucial time for Riverina winter croppers.
“If we went to the Henty Field Days (September 18-20) and it was hot and windy then we know things are going to start going backwards pretty quick,” Jason Schilg, who operates mixed family properties in the Walla district, said this week.
Russell Chapple “Mallawa” Gerogery is carrying close to 900 ewes and 1100 lambs and hoggets and his concern is around dwindling water supplies as well as feed. He recorded 14mm in Wednesday’s rain and while it was certainly welcome more was needed.
“I think the biggest problem if we don’t get runoff is going to be water,” he said.
“I’ve got three dams cleaned out and I think I might have about six inches in the bottom.
“We’re not as bad off as they are up north and out west. But we still need a fair bit of rain to get water in dams.”