LOW pressure troughs swept through the State last week with up to 150 millimetres of rainfall recorded in Esperance.
Although common for this time of year, summer storms are proving both beneficial and damaging for farmers across the districts.
Last weekend’s weather ripped through the Central Wheatbelt and Great Southern areas, with wind gusts of 130 kilometres per hour coming off the Rockingham coast and continuing east.
Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) spokesman Neil Bennett said the earlier storms that hit Esperance were formed on the eastern side of a low pressure trough, with the weekend’s weather coming from another low pressure trough which affected more of the State.
“The low pressure trough is a common feature of the weather pattern in WA during the summer months,” Mr Bennett said.
“On occasions the thunderstorm activity is widespread and can produce heavy rain, with weather that occurs on the coast progressing inland as the trough moves east.”
BoM reported that the thunderstorms this week were more intense than usual, although nothing out of the ordinary.
On Sunday Latham recorded 22mm and New Norcia 19mm of rain, which was the highest rainfall recorded from the BoM in the Central West.
Lake Chittering recorded 34mm and Ravensthorpe had 8mm.
The main front hit the Central Wheatbelt and Great Southern, with Wubin receiving 41mm and Mordetta, near Pingaring, recording 62mm.
Storms were hit and miss, with Pingaring farmer Krista Jensen recording 31mm on her property.
Ms Jensen said she was thankful there was no damage to the property after thunder and lightening surrounded it on Sunday.
“We are seeding pastures and some Brazzil canola for grazing so that would have loved the rain,” she said.
Ms Jensen runs sheep on the family’s 2630 hectare property, although they don’t have many on hand due to feed shortages.
She hoped this rain might help the feed growth.
Cascade farmer John Carmody received 45mm of rain last week, with his February total nearing 60mm.
Mr Carmody, who runs a 4500ha cropping enterprise, had been busy picking rocks and spraying and will continue spraying after the rain.
“Everything is looking nice and green and with how humid and warm it was the other day, it’s just perfect growing conditions, so the weeds are loving it and the boomsprayer not so much,” he said.
Common weeds for the Cascade area include volunteer cereals, ryegrass and radish.
Mr Carmody said after flooding last year they weren’t able to get onto their paddocks to spray out weeds.
“Obviously we are a bit behind the rainfall from last year because of the flood, but it’s all looking pretty good here at the moment,” he said.
Esperance received its highest recorded rainfall for February last year at 148.6mm since recording started in 1969.
For February 2018 the bureau has recorded 52.8mm of rain for Esperance.
Mark Walter, also from the Cascade area, said the rain varied a lot with rainfall anywhere from 40mm-100mm last week.
Mr Walter, who crops 10,000ha and has 3,000ha for pasture, said it will be valuable for his sheep in a few weeks’ time.
“We have them locked up at the moment and are feeding them so we can get them off the paddocks until something grows,” he said.
Stubbles were deterioating before the rain and Mr Walter will be able to let his sheep out onto the paddocks in a few weeks.
Like most farmers he will be busy spraying weeds that will get a good germination.
“There has been a pretty good germination of medic and seeding of a bit of vetch and sheep feed, so we will leave the paddocks that are going to pastures for now and we will spray everything else in a week or so’s time,” he said.
“It’s pretty well the first rain for the year and I think it was a bit steadier this time.
“We still got a few wash-outs in places and on different soil types, but they are probably not quite as bad as last year.”
Farmers are starting to see ryegrass coming through and melons have been growing all summer after harvest rains.
Mr Walter said more rain in the next few weeks wouldn’t be a big drama.
“Where we have had 40mm it probably doesn’t matter much, but where we have had 100mm it probably doesn’t need anymore for a while, or a couple of weeks,” he said.
Brindley & Gale Landmark agency co-principal Neil Brindley said the rain was not a negative and some areas received up to 150mm.
“People can handle it and it can only be good to promote a bit of feed because people were looking for feed as it had become short,” Mr Brindley said.
“As far as the croppers are concerned, it will give them a chance to conserve moisture and put moisture into the ground.”
He said the rainfall wasn’t as much as last year and it wasn’t as consistent as last year’s rains, although it would be beneficial.
“There has been no spraying done at all, with this being the first rain, so the spray carts won’t be out for another 10 days or so,” he said.
More low troughs are expected to hit over the coming weeks.
BOM predicts thunderstorms later in the week with warm temperatures set to hit the mid to high 30s.