FARMERS across the region are hopeful the heavens will open this spring, despite all signs pointing to a drier than average season nationwide.
It follows a winter, which brought with it below average rainfall across most of the South East.
Most areas across the region only reached around 75pc of the average rainfall, compared to last year where most areas exceeded the average easily.
Elders Mount Gambier agronomist Maddie McGrath said farmers in the community were coping, but hoped there would be more rain to start spring.
“This season we had a delayed start, where we did not get the break quite as early as we would like and have not had as much rainfall as we would have liked during July and August,” Ms McGrath said.
“They are getting through, but a nice steady period of rain over the next four to six weeks would be welcomed.”
However Bureau of Meteorology senior climatologist Darren Ray said the outlook for spring looked dry.
A positive Indian Ocean Dipole is typically associated with below average spring rainfall in Australia.
An extended warm spell is expected during September, with weekly temperatures likely to be two or three degrees above average across central and eastern Australia.
“We are expecting a dry September and October, which will bring with it an earlier start to the bushfire season,” Mr Ray said.
“It has been the second driest year on record in South Australia, not so much the case down in the South East, but it has still been drier than average.”
Ms McGrath said South East farmers were under no illusion regarding how lucky they have been compared to the rest of the state.
“We are pretty lucky down here, we do not have many dry times – you only have to look up above Adelaide and around the Eyre Peninsula, they are doing it pretty tough,” she said.
“I think we’ll scrape through this season and be okay, it will not be an exceptional season and the forecast is for a drier spring, but everyone is prepared for that in the South East.”
Despite a below average season, Ms McGrath said crops and livestock are still looking relatively healthy across the region.
“I come back to the people up north and how tough they are doing it, we are actually pretty lucky, we’re green, we have got some feed and our stock is looking pretty healthy,” she said.
“Lots of people were on the front foot and might have sold off some heavier stock when they needed to and lightened off their stocking rate to allow for that, so they have a bit more feed now.”
She praised the resilient attitude of the farming community, which always remain positive when it comes to the weather.
“They are always hopeful for more rain, but if it does not come they will get through,” she said.
“Most are very resilient and understand the nature of the industry.”