Winter forced me into the shed to attend to machinery maintenance and repairs, but now with drier conditions, I am able to venture out and knock over some gardening duties for the head gardener, mainly rolling out rice straw for garden mulch and preparing paddocks for rice sowing around mid-October. Recently, I’ve been ripping banks to fill in cracks and mouse holes and cleaning out toe furrows with the delver.
Rice contracts and a pool offer, with a price range from SunRice, has given confidence and makes rice an attractive option, particularly with the downward trend in temporary water prices, currently around $170 per ML for Vic. Murray and Goulburn water. However, I am frustrated by low allocations which seem to have no relation to the volume of water in our storages: Hume, Dartmouth and Eildon. Given the small rice crops from the last two years, I believe that it is critical we grow a decent sized crop to maintain the viability of the SunRice mills.
Winter crops look promising, however a good rain would be handy right now. Neighbours and myself have started irrigating and I’m playing the balancing act, trying to save water for rice.
Good luck for the season ahead and I look forward to when we’re ‘allowed’ to meet face-to-face and brag about our bin-busting yields.
Martin van der Sluys,
President Victoria RGA Branch