Surprise spring snow falls in pockets of SA, Victoria

Liz Wells, September 25, 2020

Snow has fallen at Jamestown in South Australia’s Upper North. Photo: WSB Distributors

A DUSTING of snow has fallen on some cropping and grazing districts in south-eastern Australia, where cold temperatures have followed welcome rain that will help crops maximise their yield potential in the lead up to start of harvest in November.

Regions where some paddocks have gone from green to white overnight include South Australia’s Mid and Upper North, and Victoria’s Western District.

In Victoria, Lismore farmer Chris Lang said snow which fell this morning settled for about half an hour before melting.

“It looked like a fantasy land,” Mr Land said.

“The temperature outside was 1 degree, so it wasn’t a frost-type situation.

“The canola is flowering now, so we are frost susceptible, but I don’t think it will do any damage.”

The region gets light snow every 10 or 20 years, but not usually in late September.

Mr Lang said the Western District was looking forward to “a really good season” for barley, canola, broad beans, faba beans and wheat.

Its early crops will be harvested around Christmas, and the feed wheat harvest can run into February.

Dagro agronomist Craig Drum said the last time cropping districts west of Ballarat had snow settle on the ground was in the 1970s or 80s.

“Canola is in the middle of flowering now, so it’s very sensitive, and barley has started flowering, but we don’t think the snow will upset them.”

Snow in SA’s Upper North followed 30mm of overnight rain. Photo: Baderloo SRS Poll Merinos

Spring arrives late in the Western District, and Mr Drum said as long as soil temperatures stayed positive, crops should continue to track well for above-average yields.

At Jamestown in SA’s Upper North, today’s snow followed a very welcome 25-30 millimetres or so of rain overnight, and around 30mm last week.

While having snow in the fourth week of spring was a little unusual, the district has often had a light dusting of snow during winter.

The Upper North has had some isolated patches of hail as well as snow, but Nutrien agronomist Joe Batten at Jamestown said the overall impact of the week’s weather has been positive, and points to a harvest at the later end of the normal window.

Provided conditions do not stay cold and/or wet, barley in the Upper North will start the district’s harvest in early November, with wheat on track for mid to late December harvest.

The region is looking at average or slightly above-average yields, with recent rain reversing the impact of a dryish winter.



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