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Jo FulwoodThe West Australian

It has been hailed as one of the best autumn breaks in decades.

Widespread rainfall right across the northern and central Wheatbelt over the weekend has meant a traditional wet start to the growing season, something some farmers say they haven't seen in many years.

Even growers in the north-eastern Wheatbelt, who have missed out on decent rain for the past five years, are smiling.

Southern Cross farmer Clint Della Bosca said the weekend break was one of the best he had ever experienced.

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He said his north-eastern Southern Cross property received 39mm.

"It would certainly have to go close to being one of the best starts to the season in my memory, but the last five years clouds a fair bit of judgment," Mr Della Bosca said.

"People out here are actually thinking about proper farm management strategies now, like getting their varieties right, and weed control, rather than whether they should or shouldn't even seed.

"These are the decision and the problems you want to have rather than just keeping your fingers crossed about whether or not the crops are even going to come up.

"Whatever we do now is going to work," he said

Mr Della Bosca said summer rains had also meant there was sub-soil moisture available for the coming season.

"We've always looked at this place out here as extremely profitable if we can get the crop out of the ground before the end of May, and that's really achievable this year with the moisture we've got now," Mr Della Bosca said.

He said many farmers in the north-eastern Wheatbelt had not had a crop for up to five years.

"Many people have a smile on their face now," he said.

Quairading farmer Todd and Grant Mills and brother Grant received 72mm on their property over the weekend, and say it was the best opening break they could recall in their farming careers.

The brothers have already sown 600ha of canola, 100ha of lupins and 300ha of clover so far this season.

“Yes, it’s a confidence boost. It really couldn’t get much better,” Todd said.

Across his various properties the lowest rainfall recording was on the family’s Narembeen block, which received 22mm.

The blocks at Corrigin received between 50mm and 67mm. The long-term average rainfall for the Quairading district is just 22mm. Todd said the seeded crop should be out of the ground by the coming weekend.

Bureau of Meteorology senior climate liaison officer Glenn Cook said the weekend's rain was the result of a tropical low that combined with a mid-level trough.

"That tropical moisture elevated the rainfall and we got some very good falls through the northern and eastern parts of the Wheatbelt," Mr Cook said

"It's been some of the heaviest rainfall we've seen in autumn, particularly in April, throughout the south-west land division."

Mr Cook said seasonal outlook predictions showed a 60 to 70 per cent chance of above-average rainfall in the May to July period.

"So there is the potential for it to keep going. However this was a one-off event related to the tropical cycle, so it remains to be seen what the winter pattern does," he said.

Mr Cook said the short-term forecast showed more tropical activity, so there was the potential for follow-up rains in coming days.

Nick Kelly, who farms west of Newdegate, recorded 50mm on his property.

He agreed it was one of the best breaks to the season he had seen in his farming career, and while he hadn't yet begun his seeding program, he was only days away from starting on canola.

"There was no sub-soil moisture there before, but I imagine there is plenty now," Mr Kelly said.

"There was water running everywhere. It's definitely a fantastic start to the season."

According to Agrarian Management agribusiness consultant Craig Topham, most of the northern Wheatbelt has begun seeding.

He said from Mingenew north, many farmers had already seeded more than half of their canola programs.

"This rain will get the crop out of the ground by the end of the first week of May," Mr Topham said.

"Historically, we know if we can get the crop out early the potential is there for at least an average season.

"We've still got a long way to go, but the signs are encouraging, particularly given the medium and long-range seasonal forecasts."

Mr Topham warned the supply of knockdown herbicides would come under pressure since most farmers would now have an opportunity to use a knockdown over large parts of their programs.

"We haven't seen such a large portion of the Wheatbelt using knockdowns over the majority of their programs for a number of years," he said.

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