East­ern farms short of rain

Albany Advertiser - - NEWS - Shan­non Smith

Farmers be­tween Al­bany and Hopetoun have recorded some of the low­est yearly rain­fall to­tals on record.

The Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy has re­leased a drought re­port de­tail­ing the area as a se­vere rain de­fi­ciency zone, very sim­i­lar to the cur­rent drought in the East­ern States.

Great South­ern farm­ing areas in­clud­ing Well­stead, Green Range, Gaird­ner, Bre­mer Bay and Jer­ra­mungup are in­cluded in the drought zone.

Well­stead crop­ping and live­stock farmer Bradley Wil­liams said he had recorded less than 200mm for the year — a sig­nif­i­cant amount less than the 950mm re­ceived in 2017.

“The fur­ther you move to­wards Gaird­ner the worse that gets,” he said. “Con­sid­er­ing how much rain- fall we have had I am rel­a­tively happy with how things are look­ing and it’s not go­ing to be a spec­tac­u­lar har­vest but it’s not too bad.

“We did drop about 1000ha of crop off and had to feed out a lot more, par­tic­u­larly around the end of win­ter.

“You can’t make it rain so you just have to go on with what you have got.”

The lo­cal Green Range Coun­try Club and Well­stead Ru­ral have been host­ing events through­out the season to get farmers to­gether with like-minded peo­ple to ease the bur­den of the drought.

Mr Wil­liams is roughly three weeks off har­vest, and Well­stead Ru­ral’s Rick Chad­wick said there was talk of har­vest be­gin­ning for some farmers this week.

“The farmers that come in from Gaird­ner have barely cracked two inches for the year,” he said.

“It isn’t good out here and Swamp Road, which is 10km east of Box­wood Hill, is some of the worst area I have heard of.

“I used to farm down near that road and we had a ter­ri­ble drought in 1969-70.

“But this is by far worse than that.”

Darker red in­di­cates se­vere rain­fall de­fi­ciency, and lighter red means se­ri­ous rain­fall de­fi­ciency.

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