Wet July has Adam smiling

Haidee VandenbergheCountryman

Since his canola began blooming, Corrigin farmer Adam Rendell has been unable to wipe the smile off his face.

His season might have got off to a shaky start, but July has turned his fortunes around and with a little luck, paved the way for a bumper season.

Adam and wife Charmaine received more than 110mm in July and with no frosts and warm weather, crops are surging ahead.

They’ve already had 185mm since April — more than double 2010’s growing season rainfall.

As he waded through early sown Cobbler canola, which germinated off a 9mm rain on April 26, Adam said it has been the wettest July he could remember.

“With our rainfall that we’ve got to date in July, if we have quite a reasonable September, we could be in for a record season here, believe it or not, ” he said.

“We started off with hardly any rain after the summer months, but it has wetted up so well now and is probably as wet as I’ve seen it for a long time.”

The all-cropper knows there are plenty of things that can go wrong between now and harvest, but after two poor seasons he can’t help being optimistic.

“My wife’s told me not to because it’s only July, but you can’t help getting excited, ” he said.

“Everyone is just excited after coming off a couple of pretty ordinary seasons and just seeing these moisture levels and crops looking so lush.

“If we can pick up another 20mm or 30mm for this coming month, a lot of these advanced crops will finish.

“We shouldn’t have wheat coming out in head within a week, but we will.”

But Adam’s the first to admit that it’s pure luck he picked up as much rain as he did — the falls have been patchy.

His neighbour, Des Hickey, is more circumspect about the season and while he said July had been a saving grace, “it’s a long way until grain is in the bin”.

Des and wife Sue have had 173mm for the year, but say it should be closer to 220mm.

Nevertheless, the rain clouds brought the Hickeys 70mm in July and a sense of relief.

“Two and a half weeks ago we were sitting in the same situation we were last year … where we could be writing crops off, ” Des said.

“We’ve had two weeks of rain, it’s turned our season around and it’s on the verge of being a good season.”

After writing all of their crops off last year, Des is relieved to finally get a month with at least average rainfall, but July was the first average month in nearly 20.

“We only got 140mm for the whole year last year, ” he said.

“We’ve had that total rainfall already and we’ve still got the rest of the year to go — it actually gives us a bit of hope.

“With a bit of luck, if we can sit on average for August and September, we can end up with a reasonable season, but I’m not hanging my hat on it yet.”

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