All eyes on the sky for expected rainfall

All eyes on the sky for expected rainfall


All eyes on the sky for expected rainfall

 Mingenew mixed farmer Geoff Cosgrove is hoping forecast rain this week will set his canola and lupins crops up and prepare the ground for his proposed wheat program this season.

Mingenew mixed farmer Geoff Cosgrove is hoping forecast rain this week will set his canola and lupins crops up and prepare the ground for his proposed wheat program this season.

WHEATBELT farmers are banking on predicted rains from two weather systems this week to follow up on what was just a teaser in some areas last Thursday and Friday.

Jim Richardson, duty forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) indicated all of the agricultural region should get some rain this week, if not from the first system, then from the following system.

Mr Richardson said an upper level trough off the west coast and a surface level trough were expected to bring good rains through much of the State's agricultural area this week and those rains were expected to start in the northern agricultural area and move south.

There could be some heavy falls and showers were expected to continue into the week under this system.

"For the Central West and Wheatbelt areas we are predicting 15-25 millimetres with heavier falls to western parts," Mr Richardson said.

"The Goldfields should get falls of 5-15mm - basically everything west of a line from Karratha through to Laverton should get something.

While BoM was unsure at the time Farm Weekly went to press whether the rains would travel as far south as Esperance, another system was expected to move in from the South West, delivering rains predominantly to the South West, South Coast and Great Southern today (Thursday), Mr Richardson said.

Showers from this system were predicted to reach into the Central Wheatbelt and were forecast for York, Cunderdin, Kellerberrin, Merredin and areas south of those towns.

Possible showers were forecast today for Southern Cross, Mukinbudin, Wongan Hills and Moora but were not expected to travel any further north into the Central West.

In the south, Pemberton, Manjimup and Mt Barker were also predicted to also get showers tomorrow and Esperance was predicted to get showers through to Saturday, but they may dry up before they get to Salmon Gums, BoM predicted.

"With all the rain about and the cloud cover, we are not expecting temperatures to be very hot," Mr Richardson said.

BoM has forecast maximum temperatures up to the low 20s for most of the agricultural area, including the Northern Wheatbelt, through to next week.

Some good rainfalls were recorded last week, particularly in the South West, South Coastal and Great Southern areas, mainly last Thursday through to Friday morning, according to BoM records.

In the South West, Jindong recorded 48mm in the seven days to Monday, Rosa Brook 46mm, Pemberton 45mm, Witchcliffe 43mm and Manjimup 35mm.

In the South Coastal area, best falls in the seven days until Monday were at Manypeaks, 116mm, Mount Barker 27mm, Wellstead 25mm and Porongurup North 20mm.

In the Great Southern, Williams and Kojonup each recorded 19mm in gauges, Narrogin and Arthur River 18mm and Darkan 17mm.

Many other areas in the Great Southern recorded falls of between three and 15mm.

Across the Central Wheatbelt falls were mainly in the range of 1-4mm and from comments on the WA Wheatbelt Rainfall Reports Facebook page they were generally gratefully received.

However, the Eastern Wheatbelt seemed to have missed out last week.

Apart from 5mm at New Norcia, Badgingarra and Nambung station, most of the Central West received just a sprinkle or missed out on showers entirely in the seven days to Monday.

Mingenew farmer Geoff Cosgrove said the predicted rain this week would see him through to the end of the month.

He waited until after ex-Tropical Cyclone Seroja to put his canola and lupins in and they are now out of the ground and going well.

"We put them into wet ground and we've had a good knockdown with spraying, so the canola is going really well but the lupins are looking a bit wet and dry (depending on the area)," Mr Cosgrove said.

"We only got about six spots (of rain) last week, but the forecast is looking good and if we get what they predict this week, or even 5-10mm, then that will see them (canola and lupin crops) through to the end of the month.

"We'll probably also get onto some paddocks and do some renovating and ploughing next week and the following week we'll get stuck into our wheat program and we should have that knocked over by May 20.

"The rains they're predicting should also bring up some green for the sheep - the ground is still warm so everything will grow."

At the other end of the agricultural region, Robert Sexton who runs a mixed farm 35 kilometres west of Kojonup, said forecast rains this week would provide the ideal season start.

"If we get another 10mm then farming doesn't get any better than that," Mr Sexton said.

He said a share farmer had put in about 1000 hectares of lupins and canola on his farm and it was now out of the ground and going very well.

"We had about 30mm of gentle rain and no damage when the cyclone (Seroja) went through before they put the crop in," Mr Sexton said.

"Then we had 15mm last week and it's looking like one of the best starts we've had.

"There's plenty feed for livestock - I just checked on the sheep (Mr Sexton has a small flock of prime lambs) and all they are doing is sitting down in the paddock and growing wool.

"The only thing that's not going good is a dire shortage of water for stock, there's been no surface runoff."

Mr Sexton said he did not believe the forecast rain this week would do much to relieve the stock water shortage in parts of the Great Southern.

"The soil profile is not full, there's water down there, but the profile's not full so I don't think much of the rain this week will run into the dams," he said.


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