Forums discuss dry start

Organisers of the dry start forums recently hosted in Eyre Peninsula towns hope those who attended now have a better understanding of how to tackle the dry start to the 2017 season.

More than 350 people attended the four forums hosted in Wudinna, Cummins, Cleve and Streaky Bay.

Mudamuckla farmer and Grains Research and Development Corporation Southern panel member Peter Kuhlmann said attendances exceeded expectations

“Cummins and Wudinna were the main forums and we had about 140 people at each of those,” he said.

“There was lots of different feedback, some thought it was depressing and others found it useful – there was a good share of information.”

The forums were initiated in response to the lack of growing season rainfall and Mr Kuhlmann said a number of different issues were discussed during the forums.

“They looked at seasonal outlook, what the models were predicting, which was an increased probability of drier and warmer conditions than average, and also what the models were predicting in terms of production.

“There was also discussion about the likely impact of heat stress on crops grown this late, the differences between barley and wheat and which to grow and how to go about containment feeding for livestock.”

He also said there was a chance for those in attendance to share their views and ask questions, as well as guest speakers including Chris Fitzgerald from Rural Business Support, letting people know what was available to support them.

Mr Kuhlmann said the discussions and issues raised during the forums would aid growers in their decision making going forward.

“People got more information to make a decision on whether to sow or not – there is no one answer as it depends on individual situations,” he said.

“I hope people got a lot out of it, the forums should have increased confidence in their decision making.”

Senior South Australian climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology Darren Ray said he was not expecting the dry spell to end anytime soon.

“We’ll soon know more about the upcoming months, but I’m expecting to see the current weather pattern continue into the rest of winter, with drier conditions in the day and frosty nights.

“We are shaping up to see record dry figures this month across southern Australia, and the country as a whole.”