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Tammin rain best in 14 years

Jo FulwoodThe West Australian

Its been 14 years since Tammin farmer Rodney Stokes has seen July rains like those he received last week.

Some 70mm fell on his property from the two separate fronts, with 31mm received Tuesday and another 39mm on Thursday and Friday.

"It was remarkable, I haven't experienced rain like this since 2001," Mr Stokes said.

"It's a season-defining rain, that's for sure.

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"Prior to this we were looking down the barrel of a very bad year, we would have had to sell sheep, at the very least."

The Stokes family farms canola, wheat, barley, oats, lupins and runs a substantial sheep flock.

Until last Monday, the property had received only 51mm for the growing season.

"We also had 76mm up until mid-April, before the growing season, but only half of that may have been effective," he said.

The 10-year rainfall average for the Tammin district for July is 60mm, and the business has now exceeded that with a total of 83mm for the month.

But Mr Stokes is still cautious about the season ahead.

"The crops on the sand plains and loam soils seem to be coping OK, but on some of our heavier country the crops have already come out in ear in some places, and I really don't know at this stage if that has gone too far," he said.

"We'll put a bit more nitrogen on now, but we won't go overboard. We are still only looking at an average year at this stage.

"Hopefully, some of the crops will compensate, but we will need good spring rains to finish off OK, and frost is still an issue here."

Mr Stokes said he was still handfeeding sheep, and would continue to do so for another two weeks.

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