Significant shower ‘critical’ to South West dairy farms

Zach RelphCountryman
Western Dairy pasture consultant Kirk Reynolds says South West dairy farmers are in need of rain.
Camera IconWestern Dairy pasture consultant Kirk Reynolds says South West dairy farmers are in need of rain. Credit: Cally Dupe

An immediate significant shower is “critical” for South West dairy farmers, hoping for rainfall to boost paddock fodder growth and quell feed concerns.

At key milk-supplying towns last month, about 40mm fell at Harvey, while nearby Brunswick received 20mm, Capel was showered by 45mm and Margaret River recorded 57mm.

Western Dairy pasture consultant Kirk Reynolds signalled the region was in need of a heavy rainfall, of more than 40mm, within the next three weeks to benefit farmers’ pastures.

“A drink wouldn’t go astray,” he said.

“We need rain within the next three weeks, otherwise spring will be very ordinary and we won’t have as much fodder as we usually do.

“The next three weeks and rest of October is critical.

“If there is a fodder shortage, milk supply will likely drop because of the high costs of fodder and grain.”

Rain lashed the South West in mid-June, delivering Harvey about 140mm and Capel about 130mm over a fortnight.

However, strong showers have since eluded the region leading into summer.

Speaking at the Rylington Park Annual Field Day on September 20, Bureau of Meteorology Albany station manager Jason Balhorn forecast a lack of rain for the South West until January.

“Rainfall is going to be below average,” he said.

“Come November, we’re likely to be getting warmer than average temperatures and there is a decrease in rainfall likelihood on the average.

“There is also an increased bushfire risk, with warmer days, less rainfall and warmer nights.”

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