Northern areas do well from summer storm

19 Jan, 2018 04:00 AM
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Ty Kirby put up this photograph on Twitter as he tries to drive down the road after 40mm of rain fell at Beacon on Monday.
Ty Kirby put up this photograph on Twitter as he tries to drive down the road after 40mm of rain fell at Beacon on Monday.

GREAT Northern Wheatbelt farmers were the main beneficiaries of ex-Tropical Cyclone Joyce this week.

While extensive rainfall was recorded along the coast, the rain-bearing depression mainly tracked in a south, south westerly direction, missing large swathes of the Great Southern and South Coast regions.

Some good recordings, albeit patchy, occurred in the central and eastern Wheatbelt and like their northern peers, the rain will trigger spraying and deep ripping operations.

In a typical love-hate relationship with Mother Nature, many sheep owners were disappointed with the rain, which spoilt dry summer feed.

But all farmers know the value of summer rain as ‘money in the bank’ towards the end of the season.

At Binnu, local farmer Craig Simkin reported rainfall between 60 millimetres (southern paddocks) and 80mm (northern paddocks).

“We’ll wait a couple of days and see what happens with weed germinations because we haven’t started any spraying yet,” Mr Simkin said.

“Then we’ll be looking at doing a bit of deep ripping which we had planned already.

“But the amount of rain will really top up our moisture profile because we’ve had a bit over the past five months.

“That will help crops later in the year and also should give us a positive start at seeding.

“Overall the rain is very welcome up here and I think stock will be licking their lips in a few days.”

Yuna farmer Anthony Farrell said between 50mm and 60mm was recorded on the family farm.

“It’s very timely,” Mr Farrell said.

“We’re spreading lime sand so now we can do a bit of deep ripping and get a bit of incorporation on those paddocks that need it.

“We’ve already done a bit of spot spraying but we’ll wait for germinations and then tackle what we need to do with the sprayer.”

Xantippe farmer (near Kalannie) and Dalwallinu Shire president Steven Carter said the 50mm recorded on his property would provide subsoil moisture that “will be handy later in the year”.

“Of course we’ve got to get the sprayer out now but the sheep also will help a bit, getting a fresh pick,” Mr Carter said.

“We’ll probably also do a bit of deep ripping on the country that needs it.”

East Latham farmer Mark Wilson is already geared for a busy work program.

“We had 30mm on the home farm at Dalwallinu and 70-80mm out here so that gives us a few weeks and we’ll be flat out night spraying before we look at deep ripping,” Mr Wilson said.

“We had planned a bit of ripping so this rain will help that and we’ll probably start in the middle of next month.”

At Bencubbin, 38mm recorded on Nick Gillett’s property will trigger a spraying program.

“I’ve heard the rain around here was a bit patchy but we’ll take anything we can get up here,” Mr Gillett said.

“Last year we got 100mm early and without that we would have been in big trouble.

“The crops were living on the subsoil moisture in the middle of the year.

“So it’s always a positive to get summer rain.”

For Jerramungup farmer Rex Parsons, it was a case of watching the weather activity slip away to the west.

“We got next to nothing out of it,” Mr Parsons said.

“Maybe 5-6mm over a couple of days but we’ve still got some green pick from a little moisture we got during harvest and the sheep are onto it clearing up weeds.

“But overall it’s a positive start to the season.”

The Bureau of Meteorology has released the top rainfall areas for the 24 hours up until 9am Tuesday.

The lower west region, including the metro area, recorded the highest rainfalls with Perth reaching its highest January rainfall since 2000.

Dwellingup was the highest rainfall in the State, reaching 147mm.

According to the bureau, other areas in the Lower West included Toodyay with 90mm, Bolgart with 75mm, Mooliabeenee with 59mm and Lancelin the lowest with 27mm.

Cyclone Joyce made her way down the coast on Sunday afternoon reaching the Central West early Monday morning.

A Bureau of Meteorology representative reported the weather was “just the remnants of tropical cyclone Joyce which crossed the coast between Port Hedland and Broome on Friday”.

The storm drifted down the coast, through inland parts of the Pilbara and Gascoyne, then through the Mid West and Geraldton areas over the weekend.

Canterbury recorded 69mm and Dandaragan 27mm, although the storms played hit-and-miss with areas such as Morawa and Kalbarri recording as little as 0.2mm.

The patchy rainfall continued through the Central Wheatbelt with Beacon recording 40mm and Bencubbin only recording 0.8mm.

Mount Westdale recorded the highest rainfall in the area, with 80mm.

Rainfall pasted through the metro area on Monday, tracking downwards towards the South West where Collie received 60mm and Yourdamung Lake with 97mm.

The heavy rainfall tracked inland as Cape Leeuwin and Cowaramup recorded less than 3mm.

Monday evening and over into Tuesday morning saw the Great Southern receive heavy downpours as Marradong recorded 133mm and Boddington 114mm.

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