Soggy slowdown

RECENT wet weather across large parts of the state has brought challenging conditions for livestock and dairy producers.

After a drier-than-average June, some parts of Tasmania are now seeing their wettest July in years.

With lambing well underway in many areas and calving about to start across much of the dairy industry, the wet conditions are making things difficult.

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association dairy council chairman Geoff Cox said while calving was yet to start on his farm, the weather would be causing issues for some producers.

“We haven’t started yet, but people that have would be really feeling it,” he said.
“Once they start though we have no choice, you just have to battle through.”

Low pressure systems brought widespread rain, wind and snow earlier this week.

The Bureau of Meteorology has also issued flood warnings for many river systems ahead of more rain forecast for tomorrow.

“I think it’s going to be fairly relentless for the next month or so looking at the long-range forecast,” Mr Cox said.

Sheep producer Robbie Tole from Cressy said conditions had become very wet on his property too, but luckily, they did not have any sheep lambing at present.

“We’ve finished the main lot and the next lot doesn’t start for about a week so I think we might have missed the worst of it, but I wouldn’t like to be in the thick of it now,” Mr Tole said.

Across the property, he said underground drainage systems were flowing well, despite the fact there had not been a huge level of runoff.

“The irrigated ground is wet but the dryland isn’t too bad yet,” he said.
“There hasn’t been much runoff so far, but that will come I think.
We’ve had about 140mm here for the month so far, which is about double our July average.”

TFGA vegetable council chairman Nathan Richardson said many growers would be happy to see the recent rainfall.

“From where we were a few weeks ago, wondering if our water storages were going to fill, I think after this they’ll soon be at 100 per cent,” he said.

Mr Richardson said the rain was well timed for most cropping farmers.
“If it’s going to get wet, now is the time for it to happen, because we’re not really doing much at the moment,” he said.
“Who knows though, it might stay wet and you’re not going to be able to get out and do much after one fine day, we’ll need a few dry days in a row.”

With many water storages now full, Mr Richardson said the rain has set growers up well for the season ahead.

However, for some cropping farmers, the rain has caused some planting delays.

Extractas Bioscience field operations manager Noel Beven said while the company’s poppy-planting program was yet to get into full swing the rain had caused some interruptions.

“The rain has delayed things slightly in the South where we were doing some planting, but we don’t normally plant much in the North-West at this time of the year.
“It’s very early days and we’re just getting started. Overall though we’re pretty happy with the weather at this stage,” Mr Beven said.

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