Rain­fall brings hope for early crops

Narrogin Observer - - Observer News - Jenne Bram­mer

WA grain farm­ers have breathed a sigh of re­lief af­ter rain fi­nally ar­rived across most ar­eas of the Great South­ern and Wheat­belt.

Grains In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion of WA spokesman Michael La­mond said the rain counted as the sea­son break or gen­eral open­ing rains for many and re­stored farm­ers’ con­fi­dence af­ter a par­tic­u­larly dry spell since the start of April. Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy spokesman Neil Ben­nett said many ar­eas had be­low-av­er­age rain­fall since the start of April.

In some cases, rain­fall lev­els were the low­est on record for April and the first few weeks of May.

As a re­sult, farm­ers were 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.

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. Aaron Dupe, a crop­ping man­ager at Karin­gal Farm in Gnowangerup, said con­fi­dence picked up af­ter the prop­erty re­ceived 6.5mm on Thurs­day night last week. Thurs­day night’s rain­fall fol­lowed 9mm four days ear­lier.

But it was mixed for­tunes, with some farms, par­tic­u­larly north and north-east of Ger­ald­ton and on the eastern fringes of the Wheat­belt, miss­ing out on rain.

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 was not fore­cast­ing this area would re­ceive sig­nif­i­cant rain at the week­end.

Mr La­mond said about 60-70 per cent of WA’s crop was now planted and seed­ing was likely to wrap up in about 10 days.

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