Darkan crops in early

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Jenne BrammerThe West Australian
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Widespread rains over the weekend were welcomed by Darkan farmers Geoff and Michelle Gooding, whose property received just over 10mm.

Mr Gooding, who is about halfway through seeding his crop, said the paddocks were getting dry and dusty, so the much-needed rain was welcomed.

He said his area, which averages about 550mm annually, received its first rains in mid-March, which provided the first green tinge for the year. This was followed by around 25mm just after Easter, which led to good germination of pastures.

Mr Gooding said he took advantage of this moisture to sow around 110ha of clover pasture.

Follow-up rains of 10mm in early May saw the pastures get a much-needed drink and enabled him to start his cropping program.

"So far in the season, the rain has always managed to arrive just in time," he said.

As a result, he is feeling optimistic about the 2015 cropping season.

This year Mr Gooding is planting 250ha of Bonito canola, 250ha of Bass barley and 300ha of oats. Of his oat program, 100ha will be standing oats for fodder, the remainder being the new Williams variety. He expects to finish his seeding program within the next two weeks.

He said they could get the crop in the ground quicker but he chooses to take it fairly steady, particularly given it is only mid-May and there is plenty of other work to be done on the property. He said the cropping program represents about a third of his farming land.

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