Promising start to season for local farmers

LAST week local farmers got what they had been waiting and praying for – a decent opening rain. 

No doubt many farming families were on edge after last year, when they had to wait until July for a downpour significant enough to start their seeding programs while in some areas of Eyre Peninsula there were farmers who chose not to sow crops at all in 2017.

A dry and mild Anzac Day – renowned for wet weather in past years – would not have eased concerns about when the season might break but there was not long to wait.

Last year Port Lincoln received 13.6 millimetres total rainfall for May and this year received that in a day, on May 3.

It is the same situation in many other centres including Cummins and Elliston where the opening rain on May 3 was almost double the total recorded rainfall for the entire month last year – 22.6mm and 26.6mm respectively. 

Last year Cummins received just 14.8mm and Elliston 16.2mm for the whole month of May.

While nothing is certain when it comes to mother nature, it is good to see the season off to a good start and hopefully it continues.

Eyre Peninsula residents know all too well the prosperity of regional and rural communities is linked to what kind of season the region’s farmers are having.

Port Lincoln businesses are well aware a good or bad season will have a corresponding impact on general spending.

Belts tend to tighten across the board if grain prices are low or rain falls at the wrong time or not at all.

It is not all about how much the agriculture industry boosts the local economy though.

More rain means less stress for farming families, at least for the time being, which is something everyone can be thankful for.

In today’s story on page three, local agronomist Denis Pedler said with the opening rains and a recent increase in the price of wheat things were looking up for the season ahead. 

The decent rains have probably also caused those with rain water tanks a bit of excitement.

Hopefully the rain last week has topped up any tanks that were starting to feel the pinch of the warm start to autumn.

While the pressure is off for now it will not be long and everyone will be looking skyward again for those much-needed follow-up rains.