Right as rain

Kylie Rowe and Jenne BrammerThe West Australian

While cyclone Olywn caused havoc and devastation around Carnarvon this week, farmers inland from Geraldton have welcomed a generous downpour.

The rain has further boosted northern farmers' confidence for the coming season and means many are set for an early start to seeding in mid-April.

Falls ranged from 80mm east of Mullewa, near Pindar, to 45mm further south at Wongoondy and 50mm near Devils Creek.

The weekend rain means, along with other recent downpours, that many areas east of Eradu down to Morawa have received between 100 and 180mm within the past month.

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Yuna and Binnu, which missed out on rainfall several weeks ago, had up to 70mm at the weekend.

Agrarian management consultant Craig Topham said the increased soil moisture meant many northern farmers would be confident enough to start sowing their seeding programs early this year.

Canola seeding is likely to start around April 15 while wheat will not be planted until around the traditional date of Anzac Day, he said.

"With good stubble cover and correct weed control, the better soil types will be able to retain the moisture within striking distance," he said.

"However, moisture will drop below sowing distance on the lighter soils which will mean another rain will be necessary to get the crop up."

Mr Topham said farmers should be vigilant about weeds to capitalise on the increased pre-seeding moisture.

"Don't let the paddocks become green and allow the weeds to suck all the moisture out of the surface.

"There is nothing more frustrating than watching that happen," he said.

"The boomsprayers were already going again after the rains several weeks ago. The whole northern area will be sprayed once or twice again before seeding.

"But that extra spraying cost is the price paid for the moisture."

Mr Topham said the generous pre-season rains meant there was likely to be higher plantings of crops like canola and lupins, which were, typically, more susceptible to drought stress. Further south in the central Wheatbelt initial hopes for a decent soaking failed to eventuate, leaving farmers disappointed.

Some areas received just a couple of millimetres on Saturday, despite earlier predictions of more than 25mm. Just 5mm was received at Koolyanobbing, 9mm at Wyalkatchem, 10mm at Quairading, 11mm at Southern Cross and 7mm at Cunderdin, according to Bureau of Meteorology figures.

Some areas fared slightly better, with 33mm received at Gabbin, 23mm at Koorda, 19mm at Wongan Hills and 15mm at Narembeen.

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