Wet re­lief

Grow­ers wel­come week­end drench

Albany Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Jenne Bram­mer

While last week­end’s wet spell may not have been wel­comed by all, farm­ers breathed a sigh of re­lief, with rain hit­ting the Great South­ern’s pas­tures.

Al­bany Air­port picked up more than 15mm, brought by a strong cold front, tak­ing the May rainfall to­tal to 41mm, while fur­ther in­land, Katan­ning col­lected more than 20mm from Fri­day to Mon­day.

Farm­ers had been feel­ing jit­tery that newly sown crops might not ger­mi­nate — par­tic­u­larly frus­trat­ing given sum­mer rains meant there was plenty of sub­soil mois­ture, which would be avail­able to crops once roots were deeper.

Aaron Dupe, a crop­ping man­ager at Karin­gal Farm at Gnowangerup, said con­fi­dence picked up af­ter the prop­erty re­ceived more than 10mm in re­cent days, with more fore­cast later this week.

Grains In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion of WA spokesman Michael La­mond said the rain counted as the sea­son break or gen­eral open­ing rains for many, and had re­stored farm­ers’ con­fi­dence af­ter a par­tic­u­larly dry spell in agri­cul­tural ar­eas since the start of April.

Mr La­mond said some pock­ets in the eastern fringe ar­eas were par­tic­u­larly dry, and those farm­ers needed rain by this week­end or yields would be less than fore­cast.

The Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy was not fore­cast­ing this area would re­ceive sig­nif­i­cant rain at the week- end, he said. Mr La­mond said about 60-70 per cent of WA’s crop was now planted and the State’s seed­ing pro­gram was likely to wrap up in about 10 days.

Mr La­mond said with at least 10mm falling across most ar­eas, and more show­ers fore­cast over this week­end, crops would ger­mi­nate and con­fi­dence had been re­stored. “We now have rain for the early crops, and a lot of sub­soil mois­ture. You don’t get much bet­ter than that,” he said.

Kelvin Warren and Aaron Dupe, of Karin­gal Farm at Gnowangerup, are look­ing to the skies for more rain, af­ter re­ceiv­ing a wel­come 6.5mm on Thurs­day night last week.

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