Steady rain sets up the season

Steady rain sets up the season


Grains
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The second front to hit the State in a fortnight made landfall on the weekend bringing much needed rain across the regions from as far north as the Pilbara down to Esperance.

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ERADU farmer Peter Barnetson, pictured in a germinating crop of Scepter wheat sown dry on May 10, thought last weekends rain front would only produce an ordinary result when he checked his rain gauge Saturday morning after hearing Geraldton has received 37 millimetres.
I only got four mills and I was thinking Id missed the boat, he said. But as the day progressed we got some heavy rain over three to four hours and it basically kept raining slow and steady. We ended up with 29mm to go with the earlier result a couple of weeks ago of 45mm so we could end up with 100mm for June if we get more from Wednesdays system. That would be above our average of 61mm which would be incredible. To think on June 6 we were fighting fires and now this, its amazing.
And prices look good too.

ERADU farmer Peter Barnetson, pictured in a germinating crop of Scepter wheat sown dry on May 10, thought last weekends rain front would only produce an ordinary result when he checked his rain gauge Saturday morning after hearing Geraldton has received 37 millimetres. I only got four mills and I was thinking Id missed the boat, he said. But as the day progressed we got some heavy rain over three to four hours and it basically kept raining slow and steady. We ended up with 29mm to go with the earlier result a couple of weeks ago of 45mm so we could end up with 100mm for June if we get more from Wednesdays system. That would be above our average of 61mm which would be incredible. To think on June 6 we were fighting fires and now this, its amazing. And prices look good too.

THE second front to hit the State in a fortnight made landfall on the weekend bringing much needed rain across the regions from as far north as the Pilbara down to Esperance.

A Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) duty forecaster said it also expected good falls in the Gascoyne over the weekend as well, although its "sparse rain gauges provided no solid data".

"Models indicate good falls after good cloud cover," BoM said.

Over the past seven days the Gascoyne areas of Marron received 49 millimetres, Carnarvon Airport received 37mm, Murgoo topped the list with 52mm and the Murchison saw 30mm.

BoM said the bulk of the rainfall from the latest front on the weekend fell in the Great Southern - between 15-30mm, the Central West - 20-50mm, and the Central Wheatbelt - 20-40mm.

Albany and the east of the State received less with falls ranging from 5 to 15mm.

"Generally the highest falls were in the South West land division," BoM said.

"Between 30-70mm fell in most places.

"Gleneagle, near Mundaring, saw the highest fall with 81.6mm on Saturday and Sunday."

Another front was expected to douse the same areas across the South West Coastal District this week with between 5-25mm forecast and it was expected to also "push through with 5-15mm further in land".

While farmers were waiting for the weather to break in May and early June, things have turned around bringing relief and confidence to the agricultural industry.

From June 1 to 23, Wagin received 75mm, with its highest fall on Sunday at 36mm, while over the same period Lancelin received 168.6mm with 63.2mm on Sunday.

Mullewa has received 62mm since June 1, with 16.2mm falling on Sunday and Monday morning.

Northam received 76mm with 22mm on Sunday alone, while Southern Cross almost doubled its June total of 14mm to 23mm by Monday morning.

Esperance received some much needed falls with 21.4mm on Sunday, while Salmon Gums saw 30.8mm by Monday morning.

They were the first falls in that area for the month to date.

Meanwhile Kalbarri has received 101.4mm since June 1, with its highest falls of 60mm occurring on June 7.

Ajana farmer Glen Reynolds was happy he took a punt and put his whole program in after 20mm of rain fell on Sunday to add to the opening break of between 45-60mm.

"It came in about 10am on the Sunday after I was up all night waiting for it," he said.

"It wasn't heavy, just light beautiful rain.

"So we've had 65-80mm for June and it has certainly made a difference.

"It has been so dry the ground just sucked it all up but I'm hoping for another good rain on Wednesday to help the crops along.

"We really need about 150mm of growing season rain to get a reasonable year and this is a good start.

"Hopefully this will be the last week of feeding sheep."

According to Mr Reynolds, his 2900ha program went in all dry.

"We started on Anzac Day and it was the most casual seeding program I've done," he said.

"We had the weekends off and just took our time and our only major worry was hand-feeding sheep."

For Badgingarra farmer David Hayes, the June frontal systems "are like what we got in the seventies".

"It started with a howling wind early on Saturday evening and we got a few spits about 7.30pm.

"I had a on and off sleep and every shower put a smile on my face.

"We ended up with 22mm which added to the 75mm we got in the first rain three weeks ago.

"We finished up on barley on Monday because we held back our cereal program until that first rain.

"The past two weeks have been hectic putting it all in but the early wheat is away and the canola and lupins have come back.

"We've got very clean crops and our clover strike has been sensational."

Mr Hayes said the wind preceding the rain didn't lift any soil.

"It was a howler but any clayed and spaded country held firm and the 75mm we got from that first drop did the job in holding everything together," he said.

Xantippe farmer Steven Carter finished seeding the last of his cereal program last Friday before a "magic"

rain fell on Sunday.

"We got between 24 and 27 mills and we've probably got a full profile now," he said.

"The first rains in that first week of June gave us 35-40mm and got us back sowing 1200ha of cereals.

"We dry-sowed everything up until the week before the first rain and then got going again straight afterwards.

"I was a bit surprised how much we got but it was nice, steady rain and it has certainly set the season up now."

Hines Hill farmer John Goodier said 15 to 20.5mm fell across his property on Sunday and added to 30-32mm he recorded on the break three weeks ago.

"Most of the crop went in dry but most of it is now up and away so I'm pretty happy, particularly with more rain due in a couple of days," he said.

"We've been hand-feeding stock for a while now but when I inspected paddocks on Monday I could see the green pick coming through which is going to help considerably.

"Overall we're happy like everybody else that we're back in the game.

"But that's farming.

"You ride the wave and sometimes the barrel just seems to go on and on."

At Southern Cross, local farmer Clint Della Bosca was eyeing a spraying program with a June rainfall total of 73mm.

"We got between 27-49mm across the farm which has been handy because we put our whole program in," he said.

"It was a bit of a patchy start then we got hit with two frosts in May that took the value out of the rain we got.

"But now all the cereals are up and going, the lupins are doing better than I expected and while the canola is patchy, the good patches are looking really good."

Eastern Wheatbelt farmer John Nicoletti was upbeat with the latest rain.

"I couldn't be happier," he said.

"We got 47mm at Dongara, 26.5mm at Esperance and 25 to 35 mills in Mukinbudin, Bullfinch and Southern Cross.

"Anybody who got that rain at the end of March from north Bodallin to Southern Cross is looking at a very good season with a bit more rain.

"The dams are full, there's green feed and it's all up and up from here."

Pingrup farmer Trevor Badger was a happy man on Monday after receiving 14mm over the weekend.

"It was brilliant really," he said.

"It follows up from 27mm on the opening rain and the crops are looking pretty good.

"On the heavy country they are out of the ground and coming up a treat, which is pleasing.

"Everything that we put in dry is probably at one to three leaf stage and the last lot that went in is at one leaf.

"I am pretty happy here, we are on schedule compared to other years and given where the crops are it is pretty normal for us."

Trevor said sheep feed was slowly getting there also, with a good germination of clover.

"We will probably keep feeding them for another week or so and then we can back off on that," he said.

Jake Graham farms at Wittenoom Hills and was pleasantly surprised to receive 27mm on Sunday.

"We were only expecting 5-10mm, so we were pretty happy to end up with 27," he said.

The Grahams' canola went in at the end of April on the back of 30mm and with that rain and a bit more follow up in May, they kept their 2019 cropping program as planned.

"The germination on the wheat and canola has been good, the early stuff has come up well and the barley we put in later had stagnated but this rain should hopefully get that going and even things up now," Jake said.

"It was a nice steady rain, it started after lunch on Sunday and kept going into the night, so it was perfect

really."

Yealering farmer Shane Hill said they received 12-13mm and the cereals had certainly benefited from it.

"The cereals are greening up and looking pretty good, canola and lupins is struggling a bit though because of the later start," he said.

"We had 25mm from that last rain event that went through and so the weekend rain will certainly keep things ticking along.

"Our canola germination is pretty patchy as that went in early and this rain might get what hasn't emerged out of the ground hopefully.

"After this rain the crops should keep improving but I would be pretty happy if we can jag some more from the fronts coming through this week."

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