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Cyclone raises rain hopes

Jenne Brammer and Trin SucklingThe West Australian

Farmers in the Mid West are hoping for a second downpour this weekend, given the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a tropical cyclone off WA's north-west coast.

Department of Agriculture and Food WA northern agriculture region development officer Rob Grima said with seeding next month, farmers were feeling optimistic about the season.

Also encouraging was the recent rain that drenched many parts of the Wheatbelt.

The main beneficiaries were a strip from Mullewa to Carnamah, which received up to 70mm, and a strip from Kalannie to Merredin which received about 40-60mm.

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"Those rains would have led to some stored soil moisture, but how much infiltrated is anyone's guess," Mr Grima said.

"There are still a few 35C days to go which could dry things out."

He said while the rainfall was positive on the balance, some extra summer weed spraying would be required, and some growers may have suffered soil erosion.

Perenjori farmer Karen Chappel said she and husband Lindsay received 160mm at their Three Springs property and 72mm at their Perenjori farm.

At the time they were spraying for caltrop, some of which will need to be resprayed.

The wet weather caused the sprayer to become bogged and washed away some roads on the Three Springs property.

"But we were very happy," Mrs Chappel said.

"You don't mind respraying if you get the rain.

"It's an indicator of a better season which is very welcome following a couple of tough years."

Meanwhile, Bob Dempster has started spraying his Carnamah property after recording 232mm of rain last week.

Mr Dempster said he had some tense times in his John Deere sprayer as he attempted to tackle weed germination following the rainfall.

"The ground is still pretty soft," he said. "I left some metre-deep tracks in the paddock last night, I could wait a little longer but I am pretty keen to get on top of it before weeds start setting seed."

Having already received 47mm in late January, sub-soil moisture levels have Mr Dempster and his family hopeful and well-prepared for the 2015 cropping season.

"Following the first storm, I deep ripped about 500ha.

"After this rain I am looking to rip another 500-700ha.

"Because we limed, deep ripped and then had the thunderstorm, we should retain a fair amount."

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