Rain tops up WA winter crop

Liz Wells July 2, 2020

HANDY rains across parts of the Western Australian cropping zone earlier this week have kept the state’s estimated 8.4 million hectares of winter crop ticking along.

This week’s falls follow earlier fronts that topped up moisture levels across the state, but also brought damaging winds that pummelled emerging crops and forced some growers to replant.

GrainGrowers WA regional co-ordinator, Alan Meldrum, said this week’s front brought good falls to the west coastal areas across to the Great Southern, but much of the north and south east missed out.

Alan Meldrum

“There was very little rain in the south east area which was disappointing as they have been dry the whole season,” he said.

“Between Perth and Geraldton missed out on the last two rain events, so they are quite dry. North of Geraldton had a lot of rain two weeks ago, so they are okay.

“So, there is a wet area in the north from earlier rain, dry conditions north of Perth, it’s good through the central Wheatbelt and through the Great Southern down to the south coast, but in the south east around Esperance it drops away again.”

Mr Meldrum said the state’s crops were at varying stages of development.

“It is a mixed bag. There are crops that are almost tillering and there are others that are just getting their second leaf up. There are some with good amounts of water underneath them and others just having enough to stay alive,” he said.

Garren Knell

ConsultAg agronomist, Garren Knell, said the Narrogin to Hyden area had had a variable start to the winter cropping season but rainfall was now tracking in the decile 3 to 5 range.

“There has been good cropping rain but we are still lacking moisture for runoff. Stock water is a very big issue,” he said.

“The fronts have been very patchy. A lot of people got 20 millimetres in the last rain, and people not far away only got 5mm.

“There are a lot of patchy crops as you get with a slow start to the season, but there is no reason why we can’t hit average or a bit better as we go into spring.”


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