Eyre Peninsula growers sowing dry

DRY: Peter and Steven Glover sowing into dry ground at Yeelanna. Picture: Ron Campbell Television News
DRY: Peter and Steven Glover sowing into dry ground at Yeelanna. Picture: Ron Campbell Television News

Farmers across Eyre Peninsula have opted to sow into dry ground as the wait for the breaking rains continues.

Despite wet conditions during summer, autumn has been a dry one across the Eyre Peninsula.

Cummins received 84.2 millimetres and 12.2mm of rain in January and February respectively but since March 1 only 12.4mm have been recorded for the town so far.

Cummins Ag Services agronomist Mark Habner said it had been highly variable how many farmers had started seeding with a few in the district likely to finish dry sowing by late this week. 

“Forty per cent haven’t started at all, some have sown a few clean paddocks of wheat but no canola,” he said.

“In 15 years of working as an agronomist this is the widest variation in how much of the seeding program people have completed by mid May.”

Mr Habner said the last time the season start had been as late as this was around 2005.

Small amounts of rain have been forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology for the Cummins area in the following week.

Mr Habner said at least 12.5mm would be needed in one fall to help to kick things off.

Cleve has fared better with rain with 27.2mm recorded since March 1, including 22mm for April.

Landmark Cleve agronomist Martin Lovegrove said most growers had sown something in the Cleve and Eastern Eyre district, with all canola and most of the barley and pulses sown as well as a bit of wheat.

“Seeding has been progressing slowly, a lot of people have been dry sowing in anticipation of a good rain,” he said.

“Darke Peak and Wharminda are still wanting a bit more rain, it’s still pretty dry across the whole district.”

Further north Wudinna has recorded 11.6mm since March 1 and Ceduna has recorded 35mm.

David Stott from WCT Rural in Ceduna said about two thirds of growers had started seeding but a few people were “dubious” about the season.