Wild WA weather brings rain to most cropping regions

Liz Wells, May 25, 2020

Fierce wind yesterday preceded welcome rain over southern WA yesterday. Photo: Amery Drage, Northampton

A WEEKEND of wild weather has brought falls of 10-25 millimetres to most Western Australian cropping districts, enough to germinate the state’s large areas of dry-sown cereals, canola and lupins.

The Esperance zone largely missed out, but is expected to get rain when a front later this week delivers a further 5-25mm to all WA cropping regions.

According to Grain Industry of Western Australia Oilseeds Council chair and crop review author, Michael Lamond, fierce winds preceded the rain, and damaged some crops which emerged on earlier rain.

“Half the state’s crop will come up on this rain, and the remainder came up on previous rain.

“Winds have also filled furrows in some dry-sown paddocks and, depending on the amount of rain received later this week, some growers may decide to resow a portion of their crop.

“We’re away: it’s more positive than negative.”

The exception is Esperance, where Mr Lamond has estimated around 30 per cent of the crop has germinated.

“They need more, and another rain event on Thursday and Friday should bring it to the south coast.”

WA growers started sowing on time in early April, and strong and sustained wind gusts have slashed some canola and lupin seedlings.

“Cereals will keep growing, but this kind of wind really knocks them around.”

Three Springs is one of many districts where strong winds may prompt some resowing of canola. Photo: Chad Eva

Mr Lamond said last year’s crops left behind mostly stubble of limited density.

“There was no guts in a lot of the stubble, so after sowing, that means very little cover on the ground.”

He said any paddocks where spading or soil amelioration have taken place in recent months were particularly at risk from wind damage to recently emerged crops.

“Northern areas got wind and then rain, but in the south, 4-5mm to start with settled the ground.

“There’ll be a bit of resowing.

“It’s still May and it’s relatively warm.”

“It’s not there are piles of sand up against fences, but in some cases there will be delayed emergence because of furrow fill, less plants per square metre, and a loss of herbicide efficacy.”

In the 24 hours to 9am today, rainfall registrations included: Arthur River 8mm; Dalwallinu 17mm; Esperance 4mm; Eneabba 12mm; Katanning and Lake Grace 11mm; Merredin 15mm; Mingenew 20mm; Northampton 20mm; Ravensthorpe 5mm; Salmon Gums 3mm; Tammin 18mm; Three Springs and York 22mm; Westonia 13mm, and Wongan Hills 18mm.



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  1. Roger Crook, May 25, 2020

    For those of us old enough to remember, this was the typical ‘break’ of yesteryear.
    Having worked for so long on methods to prevent soil erosion, like working dry soil, my heart bleeds when I see dust storms because of dry seeding in dry fragile soils. Maybe each generation has to learn for itself? If that is the case then what is the point?

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