Big variation down south

25 May, 2006 07:00 PM
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FARMERS in the great southern are pinning their hopes on Monday night's rain to get seeding underway officially.

Variable falls in early and mid-April gave widespread pasture germination and although it is still hanging on most don't consider they have had their opening rains yet.

So far seeding has depended on luck and impatience.

Katanning Agriculture Department cropping and agronomy development officer Jessica Johns says those who have their seeding program underway have sown canola and lupins but there hasn't been any pressure to keep going.

"There has been a huge range variation in rainfall in a short distance - it has all depended on what cloud you were under," Jessica said.

Near Katanning Allan Wilson, Indinup Pastoral Co, was one of the lucky ones. A downpour of 40mm on the Anzac weekend was enough to sow canola and barley and it was followed up nicely with 12mm Monday week.

They were now waiting for more rain before completing the second half of their 2000ha program.

Allan said the rain had been patchy even on their own property and many of their near neighbours were still waiting to make a start.

In the meantime other farmers have been filling in time with last minute preparations.

There is a lot more burning this year and a lot more cultivation especially on heavier country.

"The summer weeds have hung on and there has been a good clover germination. That is still there but it is dry," she said.

"Farmers have had plenty of time to organise their paddocks and get a good weed kill.

"It has allowed them to get well set-up but it will depend on whether we have a soft or dry finish and whether locusts are a problem."

She also said a few farmers farther west in the Kojonup area, who only had a small program, had finished seeding.

East of Katanning, Wally Filmer reported a lack of activity in the Nyabing area.

Although he had sown one paddock to canola he was now looking at sowing Boomer, the specially-bred wheatbelt canola variety to offset the late start.

He said it was almost at the point where farmers would only consider sowing canola if it was beneficial to their rotation.

Their property had received less than 2mm since the Anzac weekend.

"People have sprayed a few paddocks with a summer weed spray and put in an odd paddock of barley.

"If it germinated it is really struggling and also if it is on light country."

The surface is dry but on the heavier country there is moisture deeper down," Mr Filmer said.

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