Fitful crop sowing season in south

26 Jun, 2002 10:00 PM

THE WA southern agricultural crop is being sown in fits and starts.

Some graingrowers have started, stopped and, after a good drop during the week, started again.

This has been the experience of those in places like Yealering, where 18mm has been tipped out of the rain gauge since June 19 and when Farm Weekly went to press on Monday.

And on Friday night, Bullaring recorded between eight and 10mm ‹ a right-welcome amount in any language.

These two areas are under the Narrogin Agriculture Department umbrella, where district manager Allan Johns said that, generally speaking, the crop was all in, particularly west of Wickepin.

"Corrigin, parts of east Brookton and Pingelly have been problem areas, with probably only between 50pc to 60pc of their crops in," he said.

"West of Wickepin is good. Places like West Arthur, Williams, Wandering and Narrogin are doing quite well."

Some farmers have been fearful that this year was to be a replica of last year's horror run.

Not so in parts of the Narrogin region, according to rainfall figures so far.

To the end of June this year, Narrogin has recorded 56mm (it was 16mm for the same period last year).

At Wandering, it was 80mm (less than 18mm last year), at Williams 48mm (only 11.3mm) and even at Wickepin already 31mm has been recorded to the end of June when last year it was only 11mm.

But in the Lake Grace area, it's a different story.

"It's drier this year than at this time last year," Lake Grace Agriculture Department district manager Amanda Miller said.

"We've only recorded 50mm so far, and to record an all-time low for the first six months of the year we need just another 10mm."

During the week almost 10mm had fallen which meant that wheels were turning again in the district.

"Only 20pc of the crop was in before this rain and by now it would probably be between 50 to 60pc," Ms Miller said.

"We only expect between 70 to 80pc of crop to be sown this year, but that being said, some are lucky to have 90pc of their program finished."

The Katanning region has a similar tale of woe.

Agriculture Department district manager John Glauert said many crops in the eastern regions went in dry and quite a few had nothing in the ground at all.

Figures to May showed that Katanning had received 20mm compared with a 61mm long-term average for the same period, while Dumbleyung's figures were 11mm (49mm long-term average) and Kent 11mm (52mm long-term average).

Hopes throughout WA are centred on a front due over the coast this weekend.


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