Growers welcome weekend drench
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.