Cropping program a team effort

Jo FulwoodCountryman

Funding the bowling and football clubs for more than 10 years, the Wyalkatchem community cropping program has seen its ups and downs.

According to local farmer Brad Eaton, some of this year's crops that were sown early were already coming out into head, but the areas that were sown later were still looking good.

"We had a very dry June, so yes, the crop could have been better," he said.

"As long as we get a good finish, we are still hoping for a reasonable year."

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But with all labour and machinery donated each year, Mr Eaton said the 220ha usually made a good profit for the Wheatbelt town.

Run jointly between the bowling and football clubs, volunteers take turns each year to seed and harvest the crop.

Mr Eaton said it was a casual arrangement and local farmers helped out when they could.

"We have a committee that runs it, but if people are prepared to put in the crop, they generally use their own seed and the committee will reimburse them at a later date," he said.

This year, the crop is all wheat and one paddock is in fallow.

Committee member and local bowling club representative Steve Gamble said the bowling club had been reinvigorated with funds from the cropping program.

"Originally it was set up to pay for a greenkeeper, but then we also put in a carpet green and we've been paying off this loan with some of the funds from the cropping program," he said.

Mr Eaton said while the football club were in the process of amalgamating with another Wheatbelt team, it was still important to be involved in the cropping program for future generations.

"The football club folded a few years ago, but we are in the process of amalgamating with Dowerin," he said. "The cropping program will still fund any costs associated with that, as well as funding the bowling club."

Mr Eaton said while the town could have walked away from its football club, the locals had decided to keep it viable.

"It's important to keep some sort of footy club going, and through the amalgamation we have a couple of games here every year," he said.

"We thought about doing that, just folding the club and walking away - it would have been the easy option, but we decided that footy was important to our community."

It's important to keep some sort of footy club going, and through the amalgamation we have a couple of games here every year. Brad Eaton

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