WA’s Wheatbelt farmers overjoyed by thunderstorms as Great Southern region holds hope for forecast rain
Glum has turned to glee for many farmers across WA’s Wheatbelt after widespread thunderstorms since the weekend filled empty dams and gave parched soils a much needed drink.
While plenty are rejoicing, others, particularly around parts of the great southern including Newdegate and Lake Grace, missed out and are in desperate hope that rain forecasts later in the week will eventuate.
At Bindi Bindi, near Moora, Rob and Rhianne Elliott have seen their previously empty dams overflowing with water.
They received 32mm from a downpour on Tuesday, and 80mm in total over the past 10 days.
Near Yelbini, some 220kms north east of Perth, farmer Derek Clauson described the 51mm he received as a “great blessing” and said local farmers were overjoyed by the generous downpour.
He said the nine dams across his farms had been dry and unusable for almost a year, but were now overflowing.
A nearby farm Mr Clauson owns at South Gabbin received a drenching 33mm.
“This rain has really changed the outlook, it’s going to have a major impact on what farmers do this year,” he said.
“We have been fortunate enough to have scheme water which we’ve been totally reliant upon for our sheep, farmers will be turning that off now.
“It means there will be feed growing for our sheep, and we will have reasonable subsoil moisture when planting our crops this year.
“Although it’s important to get follow up rain, this has been such an important event which has vastly changed our fortunes.
“Farmers had been feeling pretty glum but are now feeling far more positive about the season ahead.”
Farmers had been feeling pretty glum but are now feeling far more positive about the season ahead.
Bureau of Meteorology Neil Bennett said thunderstorms across the Wheatbelt started at the weekend and were relatively widespread.
But he said thunderstorms are typically hit and miss, so it was not unusual for some farmers to get plenty of rain while a nearby neighbour could miss out.
Sadly, the rain did not reach the extremely dry Great Southern region, though there are forecasts for later in the week.
Newdegate farmer Bob Iffla said he received just 2mm on his farm. Dams had run dry a long time ago and he said farmers were getting absolutely desperate.
“It was so disappointing to miss out again, hopefully it will be our area’s turn next time,” he said.
Mr Iffla, who has not seen conditions so dry in his 50 years of farming, said rain was forecast in his area today and Friday, and while his fingers were crossed, he was not holding his breath.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails