Praying for September rain

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeThe West Australian
Father and son team Robert and David Dew at their Konnongorring farm.
Camera IconFather and son team Robert and David Dew at their Konnongorring farm. Credit: Cally Dupe

An unlikely growing season is under way across the mixed soils of Konnongorring, south of Wongan Hills.

More than 30mm of rain fell at the Dew family property, called Tambin, last month, but it had been a while.

The Konnongorring farm recorded just 33mm between April and June, with the most significant rain event a 13mm downpour in April.

On the property is Susan and Robert Dew and, at the moment, their 21-year-old-son David.

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He has returned home to work on the farm after taking a break from studying at university in Perth. The father-and-son team had the boom spray out this week and were cautiously celebrating after 36mm of rain fell in July.

Robert said he was surprised to watch his 600ha of crops germinate evenly after they were dry seeded between late May and late June.

“The wheat is looking quite good; we went in late this year, so we’re a little behind the rest of the district,” he said. “The advantage to that was our crops have germinated quite evenly.

“We put everything in dry, but there was enough subsoil moisture to germinate, and then the July rainfall kept it going.”

The property includes 600ha of crops, mostly Mace wheat with some Mandelup lupins and Mundah feed barley, and about 650 Merino ewes. Shearing was completed last week and the property also boasts about 550 lambs.

Crops are looking healthy, a different tale to some properties to the farm’s east.

Konnongorring had recorded less than 1mm of rain for August by Tuesday afternoon.

Robert said September rains would be crucial to the family’s crop and could “make or break” the upcoming harvest.

“Our pastures are sparse,” he said. “We haven’t stopped feeding silo lupins to ewes and lambs and are looking at what we can offload.

“It’s a similar story for this area, but not too far east is a lot drier.

“We are very dependent on the late September rain and if we don’t get that, it will be a real problem.”

The Central Wheatbelt and Central West have recorded a dry start to August with between zero and 4mm by Tuesday.

It is a different story for parts of the South West, where farms at Boyanup have received 27mm, Nannup 51mm and Bridgetown 61mm.

Southern coastal areas have experienced varying amounts of rainfall including 2mm at Borden, 3mm at Gnowangerup, 12mm at Munglinup, 12mm at Kendenup and 11mm at Esperance.

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