Wheatbelt welcomes rain

Sarah QuintonThe West Australian
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Twenty-four hours of quenching summer rains this week have blessed the parched paddocks of the Wheatbelt, filling dams and giving farmers relief after one of the driest seasons on record.

Sheep and grain farmers in Kalannie received 59mm, saving them from a long summer carting water to livestock.

The rains stretched as far as the eastern Wheatbelt, where hundreds of farmers have suffered substantial crop losses, some not even bothering to drive the harvester out of their sheds because of such pitiful yields.

Corrigin received 25mm and Narembeen 37mm but the biggest rainfall was in Nangeenan with 70mm, followed by Codgen 57mm, Merredin 58mm and Burracoppin 50mm.

Farmers in the Mid West also welcomed the rain with Ninghan Station recording 92mm and Yuin 29mm, according to the Weather Bureau.

Kalannie farmers Jo and Wal Ashworth had not had rain since 5mm fell last August.

"The rain means that all the dams have water so we'll have plenty for stock over summer and we will not have to cart it around the farm," Mrs Ashworth said.

"Subsoil moisture will be invaluable, as the soil moisture bank was empty.

"Summer weeds will no doubt start to grow, which may provide some summer feed.

"But we would never knock back rains that fill dams and put some moisture into the ground."

Department of Agriculture central region director Pamela I'Anson said large parts of the Wheatbelt had had rain.

"Where larger falls have occurred, such as Southern Cross, Merredin and Bencubbin, there has been significant run-off into dams reported," she said.

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