Dri­est sea­son in years for south

Countryman - - NEWS - Jenne Bram­mer

Most grow­ers in WA are har­vest­ing bumper crops, but not along WA’s south coast where farm­ers face dry dams, are sell­ing or hand­feed­ing sheep, and are get­ting barely half a nor­mal yield.

Ru­ral Fi­nan­cial Coun­selling Ser­vice of WA coun­sel­lor An­drew Grist said grow­ers in the Raven­sthorpe and Hopetoun ar­eas, through to Jer­ra­mungup and Al­bany, were re­port­ing the dri­est sea­son in more than 50 years. At West River, near Raven­sthorpe, the Dun­can fam­ily had just 168mm of rain from April to Oc­to­ber, and 240mm for the year to date, com­pared with 370mm in an av­er­age year.

Jodi Dun­can, who farms with brother Rian and his wife Kar­ryn, said be­cause of a lack of ger­mi­nated pas­tures for feed, they sold 2000 sheep, leav­ing 7500. “Our big­gest prob­lem is that the dams are run­ning dry — which is a ma­jor con­cern across the district,” Ms Dun­can said.

“We try to keep this year in per­spec­tive by re­mind­ing our­selves 2018 fol­lowed six aboveav­er­age years for our prop­erty,” she said. “Our crop­ping re­sults this year, con­sid­er­ing these con­di­tions, also demon­strate how far farm­ing has come. In 2002 we also had an ex­cep­tion­ally dry year . . . but grain yields then were about half of what we are get­ting now.”

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