Rain boosts grower spirits

Lauren CelenzaCountryman

Widespread rainfall over the South West has put smiles on the faces of many farmers this week.

Rain fell on most agricultural areas with too much rain in some regions causing a delay in seeding.

Dry Season Advisory Committee chairman Dexter Davies said the rain was fantastic for those who got it.

“One rain doesn’t make a season but it’s fantastic from a psychological and seeding point of view, ” he said.

Mr Davies said areas in the northern and eastern Wheatbelt received good rains however some areas around the south-east missed out.

“These are very anxious times for growers, but at least we know it can still rain, ” he said.

“We don’t want people to panic, and to those who have had rain, the advice is to plan carefully, try to reduce risk and take it as it comes.”

Esperance Farmanco consultant John Richardson said some areas were now too wet to seed.

“It’s a complete contrast to last week when they were too dry, ” he said.

Meanwhile, Kulin Shire chief executive Greg Hadlow said many farmers in the area were still waiting on a decent rain.

“We got about 6mm last week in some spots, which isn’t enough, ” he said.

“Most farmers are proceeding to dry seed where rain didn’t fall.

“It has been pretty poor down here; water supplies are still poor, we had no run-off from those sprinkles.”

At Hyden, Sally Nicholl said the family’s property received 9mm last week, to bring their May rainfall to 15mm.

The monthly rainfall has tallied 19.5mm for January, 18mm February, nothing for March and 12.5mm in April.

“We are making the most of the 9mm, ” Sally said. “We are seeding a couple of paddocks of wheat and will then make an assessment but there just isn’t the subsoil moisture.”

Narembeen farmers Todd and Trista Federici’s property received between 25mm and 40mm of rain last week.

Farming with his dad Vince, Todd said they had seeded 20 per cent of their program starting with Mandelup lupins, Yagan barley and Cobbler canola and hoped to be done in a few weeks’ time, finishing with Mace wheat.

“We were going to cut back the canola program but have decided to put it all in, ” Todd said.

Their Yagan barley, which was planted on May 6, has begun to emerge and Todd said the recent rainfall was just what the doctor ordered.

“Last week’s rain was ideal; timing was spot on and it was just the right amount, ” he said.

The mixed croppers also run 2600 breeding ewes, which now have adequate feed and water.

Todd said seeding into wet ground was nice change after last year’s dry season. After receiving 200mm of total rainfall last year, Todd said their yields were below average.

“Last year we dry-seeded and there was patchy rain all year, ” he said.

Going into this season they were planning to dry seed and pay more for chemicals, but Todd said the rain had made a huge difference to their chemical needs.

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