It’s a game changer says Tongala farmer

By Holly Tregenza

PRAYERS were answered this week as 18mm of rain fell across Kyabram and district on Thursday and a further 17mm fell in the early hours of Friday.

“We knew it was coming but every pitter patter on the roof got us running out the front door to see if there was rain,” said Tongala dairy farmer Scott Fitzgerald.

He described the 35mm his farm received as a game changer.

“I’ve heard some people say that this has been the most anticipated rain event in history. Hopes were really high for everyone.

“I was messaging some mates this morning and it’s just given us all such a big boost. We can get away with five or 10mm falls now.

“To have been battling away and just not being able to see the light… it’s hard to explain what this has done for us,” he said.

The rain brings an end to a tough irrigation season at the Fitzgerald farm, with annuals having been in since early March.

Many are hoping these falls signify the end of the severe 2018-19 dry period which has wreaked havoc on the region – exacerbated by soaring temporary water prices.

At the KyValley Dairy offices, the relief was palpable.

“This is huge for the farms that supply to us, and it really is just a huge relief for everybody. We’re really happy and hope that it can continue to help our farmers have a slightly easier season,” said Director Wayne Mulcahy.

As well as being a decent size, the rain has come at a time in the season where it will have a significant impact.

“We still have good soil temperature and it’s really good to get a big rain at the start of the season. It’s also not too much for our corn crop,” said Scott.

And it’s not just the adults who have welcomed the rain, with Scott’s four savvy young kids also excited to see puddles appearing in their paddocks.

“Our little girl Isla is in grade one and is learning to put words together. The other day she wrote, ‘my dad doesn’t want too much rain on his corn.’

“It’s pretty amazing what kids pick up when you don’t realise it. They were very happy to hear rain on the roof,” he said.