IT is the million dollar question: when should seeding begin?
With lots of weird and wonderful theories being thrown around this time of year, some farmers are convinced this season will continue on the good luck of the previous seasons, while others are not quite as optimistic.
Wyening farmer Julian McGill, who described himself as an "eternal optimist", was one such farmer who was positive this year wouldn't be as dire as some people were led to believe.
He said for the farmers further up north it may be tougher, but for farmers in a reliable rainfall area like himself, it would still be a decent year.
"The redgums are flowering and the mopokes are out, as the indigenous Australians would say, this is just a normal autumn," Mr McGill said.
"I never worry about the weather, you can't control it so why worry about it?
"You just got to stick to your plan and put your crop in and stick to your guns."
The soil at Mr McGill's farm was looking good, and he said if he was ready to seed now, he might just be tempted to.
He has had some difficulty getting ready for the season and was currently modifying equipment, but was hoping to begin seeding in the next two weeks - by Tuesday, April 18.
"It's amazing how much work can be squeezed into two weeks if you really have to," Mr McGill said.
They hoped to be finished by May 25, and have left a few days before the start of June in case they experience any breakdowns or complications.
Mr McGill hasn't made any changes to his cropping rotation, as he said he had "chased markets" in the past, and ended up losing money, so now he sticks to a long-term rotation.
Sitting in a reliable rainfall area, he said he could predict how much wheat he was likely to harvest, and could forward sell or make decisions off that.
In 2022, Mr McGill had the exact same yield as in 2021, however his profit was halved compared to the year before due to extremely high input costs.
With input prices slowly coming down, he was hoping it wouldn't be the same story this year.
He has held off on buying fertiliser, as many years ago he bought fertiliser early, worried that supply wouldn't be there when he needed it.
"I got burned many, many years ago, buying it early at a very high price but then by March, it had come down astronomically," Mr McGill said.
"Now we lock in our tonnages, but not our price."
Grass Patch farmer John Sanderson is one of many large-scale farmers who have decided to start seeding early out of necessity - so they can finish before the start of June.
Since his expansion to Varley, the team has had to start seeding earlier to ease pressure in the closing stages of the program.
Mr Sanderson will start seeding his canola next Monday, April 3.
He received about 13 millimetres of rain last weekend which wasn't quite what he had been hoping for.
Mr Sanderson said it might be tricky seeding next week, as more rain was forecast before Monday.
"If we've got a little bit of moisture when we put it in, I'm worried about the canola half germinating and making a bit of a mess," Mr Sanderson said.
"So either we put it in dry, or we've got to wait for a decent rain to put it in - you can't put it into a little bit of moisture."
If he was worried about the moisture, Mr Sanderson said he might consider putting faba beans in, because they can go deeper where there was already moisture.
"So I think we'll put the beans (faba) in and then hopefully by then there's some more rain coming or we've had a bit more rain and we can roll on with the canola," he said.
His farm at Grass Patch is also at risk for frost, so they wait for as long as possible before seeding in that area.
"Even if everything else is done in mid May, we'll wait," Mr Sanderson said.
Last year, some of his best yielding crop was seeded at the end of June, but they had a fine finish.
With two full-time workers and one casual employee Mr Sanderson is thankful to have the resources needed to seed 6000 hectares.
The team would take it easy the whole way through so no one experienced burnout.
"We left it until too late last year and we had a few hold ups, and then you got to start running it around the clock," he said.
"It's not fun running a machine around the clock."
Mr Sanderson said every year has been drier than normal, and last year was the first time they had above average rainfall in an extremely long time.
"We don't need as much now with our modern methods and modern varieties," he said.
"I'd love to have 300mm of growing season rainfall, but we can get by on less rainfall.
"So there's not that panic about a dry season just as long as it falls at the right time."
Wagin mixed farmer Sebastiano Mangalavite is sticking to the traditional April 25 start date when he will kick off with oats.
With about 202ha of cropping, and the rest used for sheep, he said it was an extremely busy time of year when lambing crossed over with seeding.
He mostly uses his crops for feed, but if it's a good year, it was nice to "make an extra buck or two".
Those in Geraldton are less likely to be seeding anytime soon, with Nutrien Ag Solutions, Geraldton agronomist Owen Mann suggesting most won't start until late April or early May.
If the weather forecast continued to look "dismal", he said some farmers might start considering reducing the amount of canola seeded or change their rotations.
Elders, Geraldton agronomist Peter Elliott-Lockhart agreed, saying only the bigger farms and corporations in the area would be seeding soon to finish by the start of June.
"There'll be guys who will be looking hard at it, if we get rain at the end of the month, they'll certainly be thinking about putting crops in the ground," Mr Elliott-Lockhart said.
"But if it gets dry, and they put it in the ground in early March to early April, there is every chance - if it's canola seed - they will lose their seed.
"It'll germinate on 10mm, but it won't stay alive for very long.
"If it hasn't rained, then there's more chance that when it does rain, it will keep raining and their crops will be alive.
"But if they start in April, and we get 10-15mm sometime in late April, early May there's every chance that maybe the seed will come up but it won't survive."
While the data from Geraldton generally suggests farmers are better off waiting until May, as wheat from April runs into a quality issue, Mr Elliott-Lockhart said the past two years were an anomaly.
"For the past two years up here, we've had cyclonic rain to start and anything that went in early has generally been better - wheat that was in before Anzac Day performed really well last year, especially because we didn't have any frost," he said.
Mr Elliott-Lockhart said the correct time for seeding had become a logistical conversation, as farmers with more than 10,000ha work towards a June 1 finish date, so were forced to start earlier.
"As we get later into June it gets colder, and crops aren't growing as quickly and we are getting late and less reliable breaks," Mr Elliott-Lockhart said.
"The more ground that we put in early, the more risk that we run that we're going to have crops that are false break - and they are dead and you have to reseed them
"Two kilos of Roundup Ready canola seeds is close to $100, so you run some risk by putting it in the ground, and the risk is a bit of a double whammy.
"If we do get an early false break and it comes out of the ground and dies, you've spent $100 and your chance of getting the seed to replace that seed is difficult at this time of year - there's not a lot of extra seed floating around."