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29 July 2020
BY DYLAN DE JONG
A Wimmera farmer is banking on a wetter than average spring to push his crops to full potential.
Wonwondah farmer Jason Pymer is optimistic the season will pick up in the warmer months as July remains largely dry across western Victoria.
Horsham Aerodrome recorded 13.8 millimetres, Edenhope 37.4mm, Hopetoun 6.4mm and Mount Williams in the Grampians 62mm rain this month to yesterday.
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And many parts of the Wimmera also recorded average or below average rain during June.
However, Bureau of Meteorology, BoM, is keeping a watchful eye on ocean temperatures.
Forecasters say there is early indications of a La Niña pattern, associated with wetter weather across Australia, forming in spring.
Mr Pymer is finishing off his pre-emergent spraying program for his grain and pulse crops.
He said wetter weather would be a welcome change.
“We need to see rain in August, September and October for crops to reach their potential,” he said.
“But like most farmers, I’m an optimist. I’m hoping for a better than average season and if we get an average year, I’ll be pretty happy.”
Mr Pymer said while rain earlier in the year was beneficial, it was not significant enough to penetrate through and top-up his drying soil moisture profile.
“We certainly had a really good start where crops established really well – but the past six weeks there has been minimal rain, so we’d take any rain we can get,” he said.
“We haven’t got much stored moisture, we’re probably sitting at about 20 percent, so there’s still a fair bit of water needed to get us home.”
Mr Pymer said he was staying confident he would pull off decent crops come harvest time, which would likely be in November on his farm.
BoM senior climatologist Jonathan Pollock said the bureau had initially forecasted a wetter than average winter across Victoria.
But he said weather was likely to remain dry throughout the remainder of this month and most of August across the Wimmera due to a climate driver in the Indian Ocean.
“There was a bit more excitement for a negative Indian Ocean dipole – when in a negative phase that means we have above average rainfall for parts of Victoria,” he said.
“But the models have backed away from that now – the Indian Ocean is likely to stay neutral.”
Mr Pollock said the outlook was likely to remain dry until at least September.
“Throughout August, in northern Victoria there’s a chance of above average rain, but that pattern doesn’t extend down as far as Horsham,” he said.
“But places like Warracknabeal have slightly increased chances of rain.
“In September that pattern strengthens a bit.”
Mr Pollock said the bureau’s El Niño-Southern Oscillation, ENSO, outlook was at La Niña ‘watch’, indicating the chance of La Niña forming in 2020 was about 50 percent – twice the average likelihood.
“A lot of international models are favouring a La Niña developing later this year,” he said.
“This is due to what’s happening in the Pacific Ocean where we had seen cooling in the central Pacific.
“That’s typically a precursor to a La Niña and that combines with our model outlooks.
“In the past when we had those types of conditions, we ended up having a La Niña 50 percent of the time.”
The entire July 29, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
The entire July 29, 2020 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!