Wet finish ups WA crop estimates

26 Sep, 2013 02:00 AM
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BEACON grower and former agronomist Joel Lancaster is all smiles following the rainfall on his property in the last month.
BEACON grower and former agronomist Joel Lancaster is all smiles following the rainfall on his property in the last month. "The late rain has turned the season around," Mr Lancaster said. "It has been fantastic. "The season should bring about average yields now or hopefully even better."

SEPTEMBER rain is always welcomed and it has been no different this year particularly for farmers in the eastern Wheatbelt.

Rain over the last month, while still patchy in some areas, has turned the season around dramatically for many of the State's farmers who are now looking at average or above average yields.

The change in fortunes has been remarkable, particularly given the fact that June produced little to no rain in broadacre areas.

Farm Weekly travelled to Beacon last week and Koorda the week before where farmers were optimistic the season was back on track due to the weather conditions of the last six weeks.

CBH's latest crop estimates also reflect the confidence of the season with the co-operative predicting a harvest of about 12 million tonnes for the State.

The Geraldton port zone was expected to reap 1.5-1.8mt, while 3-3.2mt was predicted for Albany, 2.4-2.8mt for Esperance and 4.7-5.0mt for Kwinana.

Cunderdin farmer Norm Jenzen said he had received another 14mm since Thursday and expected his barley to go about 2.5t/ha and the wheat to go about 2t/ha.

"We are just north of Cunderdin and it is looking pretty good but it depends on where you go," Mr Jenzen said.

"The barley is looking really good but the wheat is still a little bit of an unknown because we don't know what impact the dry June had."

He said there was still a chance of frost on his 4000ha crop but so far the rain and warm weather had been able to keep it away.

Ravensthorpe farmer Kye Chambers said he was likely to start swathing his canola this week, saying it had browned-off really quickly and was just about ready to go.

He said he received 60mm for September and things were looking excellent.

"It was a bit of a surprise actually because we don't usually get rain in September," he laughed.

"We just need to keep it out of the way of frost for the next few weeks and we should be right."

Mingenew farmer Jack Greaves said he and his father Jamie went through a dry spell of about 50 days which didn't end until early July.

He said the wheat on his lighter sands really suffered during that time but the late rain had helped a lot of crops on his heavier sands.

"We had about 70mm in August and have had 25mm for September so far," Mr Greaves said.

"We put in 4000ha of half wheat and half lupins and the lupins are looking really good.

"They held up really well during the dry and they look to have plenty of pods on them."

At the other end of the State's growing zone, South Stirling grower Ashton Hood said the Great Southern area was having an awesome season and 61mm for the month so far had topped it off.

"We had about 5-10mm over the weekend which takes us to 61mm for the month, things are looking really good but we certainly don't need anymore," Mr Hood said.

"Further north areas like Borden and Gnowangerup are looking good as well."

He said he would hopefully begin swathing in the next few weeks.

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