Wheatbelt enjoys a good drop

Jo FulwoodCountryman
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Widespread rainfall across the central, southern and parts of the eastern Wheatbelt over the weekend has been a season changer for many growers.

Bureau of Meteorology data showed Burracoppin, in the eastern Wheatbelt, recorded its wettest September day in 104 years, with 32.6mm falling on Saturday.

The previous highest September recording for the area was 25.4mm in 1970.

Rohan and Karin Day, who farm south of Burracoppin, received between 21mm and 45mm across their property.

Mr Day said the rain would make a huge difference to his season.

"We will watch and see what happens," he said.

"We're not putting figures on anything at the moment, but it's certainly helped our situation a huge extent."

Mr Day said while early rains in May had allowed most of his crop to germinate, the dry June and early July had been a concern.

He said the average growing season rainfall for his area was 200mm, and so far he had received just 130mm.

"So it's still well down on the average," Mr Day said.

But he said moisture would not be an issue from now on.

"We have a pretty full soil profile," he said.

Mr Day said his farm had already experienced a frost late last week.

"I'm hoping it hasn't done too much damage, but we had Calingiri that was flowering … It was a moderate frost but it might have just been isolated," he said.

Kondinin farmers Grant and Lindsay Tuckwell received 18mm on the weekend, bringing their total September rainfall to a handy 26mm, and a total of 339mm for the year.

Mr Tuckwell said the conditions on his property were fantastic.

"I've been farming since 1978 and I think it's the best season I've ever seen," Mr Tuckwell said.

"We didn't have a lot of rain in June - it was the driest June in 100 years, which is as long as our farm has been going.

"Then the heavens opened, and it hasn't stopped raining since - it's just amazing.

"Even if it doesn't rain again, we will still have a good season."

However, Mr Tuckwell said frost during the flowering period was always a concern.

"The only thing that will stop us now is frost," he said.

"We have been hit with frost the last few years and it's really hurt.

"Last year … We had an okay crop until September 25, and the frost virtually nailed about 50 per cent of our crop.

"So there is a lot hanging on the results of this year."

Nungarin farmer Andrew Coumbe received 10-22mm across his property.

He said combined with the 17mm from the previous week, the season was now on track for average to above-average yields.

"This rain was make or break for us," Mr Coumbe said.

"We might actually make enough money to do it all again next year.

"It was a bit hit and miss around us, so we are very happy with this result."

He said there had been some hail on his property from the storm, but the crop damage appeared to be minimal.

BOM senior climate liaison officerGlenn Cook said the bureau was expecting another cold front to push through the South West land division on Wednesday and then again on Saturday.

He said September weather patterns were often variable, given the transition to the summer patterns.

However, he said most parts of the South West land division should experience rain in the coming week.

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