April rain helps build soil moisture and farmer confidence

Confidence building: Crop producers in the central west are now hoping for the continuation of current conditions. Photo: File

Confidence building: Crop producers in the central west are now hoping for the continuation of current conditions. Photo: File

The widespread recent rain that fell over the central west in April is not only helping to build farmer confidence, but rebuild long-term soil moisture deficits across a majority of the region.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, a total of 117.6 millimetres of rain fell over the month of April at Trangie.

At Wellington, 141.2mm of rain was recorded during that same period, while 154.8mm fell at Parkes.

In Coonamble a total of 93.mm was recorded over April and 154.2mm fell at Gilgandra.

A NSW Department of Primary Industries spokesperson said the rainfall during April was extremely beneficial for most crop producers in the central west.

"The current potential at the start of the season for the 2020 winter crop is generally positive and substantially better compared to the last two years," the NSW DPI spokesperson said.

"The rainfall (in April) improved soil moisture levels across the region and will extend confidence further into the growing season."

"The main sowing window is now underway, with the April rain ideal for enhancing crop establishment for most growers."

The NSW DPI spokesperson said conditions are variable across the central west, with the situation ideal for some, while others are managing challenging conditions.

"Conditions are mixed in northern areas of the central west," the spokesperson said.

"Conditions are ideal for some, where soil moisture levels are promising and sowing activities are progressing well. Other producers are managing challenging conditions, where soil moisture levels are high but remain too wet for sowing.

"There is risk that sowing will progress slowly or the ideal sowing window could be missed in some situations."

The NSW DPI spokesperson said conditions further south are generally excellent.

"There is encouraging soil moisture for the first part of the growing season and nearly ideal conditions for sowing activities at present," they explained.

A majority of crop producers in the central west are hoping for the continuation of current conditions that will allow them to finalise sowing during May.

"Given the extent of long-term soil moisture deficits, average to above rainfall during winter and spring will be needed to maintain yield potentials over the growing season," the spokesperson explained,

"There is a long way to go and many other factors to consider, but from a rainfall perspective winter and spring rainfall is needed to sustain the positive improvement in conditions that the region is currently experiencing."

The NSW DPI spokesperson said improved rainfall and soil moisture levels across most of the NSW winter crop area at the end of April is likely to encourage a significant increase in the 2020 crop area planted compared to last year.

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