Wet season for farmers

THE RAINS ARE HERE: Keith Cowan at his property near Weethalle, Mr Cowan said they hadn’t seen rain like this for at least 30 years. Picture: Anthony Stipo.FOR the region’s farmers, so often at the mercy of Mother Nature, recent rains have been a welcomerelief.
Nanjing Night Net

Keith Cowan, a farmer at Yarran Park 19 kilometres north of Weethalle, said his property hadreceived 200 mls of rain for the past eight weeks, and that it had been perfect timing.

“It’s certainly one of the wettest seasons we have had for many years, I think it would be 30 years since we have had a winter this wet,” Mr Cowan said.

“We want to see good sub-soil moisture coming into spring, and we certainly have that now.

“We need it to get through so that if we have a dry spring like last year, the crops will still finish.

“But right now, tohavefull dams, it’s the first time for six years and that’s fantastic because we’ve battled through with water for the last two summers and it has been really difficult.

“This is one last thing to stress about and that’s great because there are always plenty of things to stress about in farming.”

Mr Cowan said a lack of rain in recent years had given him plenty to stress about and seen him miss out badly.

“It has been extremely dry the last few years which has been very difficult for crops –we’ve had crop failure the last couple of years,” he said.

“2010 was a really big year, but11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 were all average or droughts,we would get the rain to plant but we didn’t get the finishing rains and thereforewe didn’t have the sub soil moisture.

“It’s devastating when that happens.

“It’s a whole 12 months of work for zero incomeor just recouping some costs, it’s very hard on farmers –we need rain, you can’t grow crops on just sunshine alone.

“But at this stage it looks like we will have well above average yields so we can write this one off as a win.”

Despite the promising outlook Mr Cowan said anymore rain in the coming months could be problematic.

“There could be some flooding issues because the dams are full, if it gets too much wetter then it’s going to be a problem but at the moment I can live with it.”

Despite farmings unpredictable natureMr Cowan said he wouldn’t change what he did.

“You have to get used to it and you can’t let it get to you.

“We live in a marginal rainfall area – it’snot assured and you always have to set up for a low rainfall spring, but I love it and I can’t imagine myself living anywhere else but on a farm.

“It’smylittle piece of paradise, even though sometimes in the middle of a drought Ithink it’s more like a hell.

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