DOPPLER radar proponent, South West MLC Nigel Hallett has called for three more Doppler weather radars to be installed across the WA agriculture region.
While welcoming last week's announcement of the new Newdegate, South Doodlakine and Marchagee locations for three planned Doppler radars, Mr Hallett called for further installations in Geraldton, Esperance and Albany.
"The State Government must go one step further and fund an additional three Doppler radars in Geraldton, Esperance and Albany," he said.
"I have no doubt this state-of-the-art technology will revolutionise farming in WA.
"Growers can make well-informed decisions including about on-farm activities such as tillage, seed variety, chemicals and fertiliser use, and it will enable farmers to better monitor movement and intensity of rainfall."
Although Doppler's higher resolution images and more accurate localised rain and wind speed and direction information was unlikely to prevent crop damage, it could help farmers take advantage of favourable conditions and make informed decisions hourly regarding stock movement and protection and chemicals applications, he said.
"Farmers are able to save thousands of dollars on chemical sprays, and are better able to manage drift and rain wash-off, which provides significant environmental advantages and reduces unnecessary run off into rivers and local waterways," Mr Hallett said.
The radars, which have a range of 200 kilometres, would also help with bush fire and prescribed burn management and promote the introduction of crop mitigation insurance products, he said.
"As WA becomes increasingly vulnerable to weather, the investment made in establishing a Doppler radar network will not only provide major economic benefits to the WA farming sector, it will assist in saving lives and property and help to build a weather-ready State."
A spokesperson for Food and Agriculture Minister Ken Baston said the $23 million Royalties for Regions-funded project was on target with the first of the Doppler radars to be installed and operating by the end of June next year, the second by September 30 and the third by December 31.
The radars would be installed, operated and maintained by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) which was yet to determine in what order the three would be installed, the spokesperson said.
He said BoM had determined the new locations to provide optimum coverage because of their elevation and minimal electrical interference from existing communications towers.