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Seeding underway in southern WA

Olivia Garnett and Lucinda Jose, Monday April 21, 2014 - 07:34 EST

Patches of good rain in southern parts of Western Australia has got the tractors rolling and some grain farmers are starting to put in this year's crop.

Traditionally, seeding usually begins around ANZAC Day, but falls of up to 40 millimetres on a handful of properties have sparked early canola planting.

It's the same across the border in South Australia, where growers have also jumped on their air seeders to make the most of early rain.

Noel Miguel runs a mixed operation at Beacon in WA's wheatbelt, cropping about 5,000 acres.

He got the machinery out last Thursday and is already starting to see the canola germinating at the two leaf stage.

Mr Miguel says a thunderstorm helped get things underway.

"We had up to 33 millimetres and we thought it was a good opportunity to put a bit in and see what comes up.

"We'll be looking for more rain for sure, so hopefully there's a bit around the corner.

"Our neighbour is putting in a bit of canola as well so there's a few going."

On the South Coast, there are also air seeders in action, despite there being very little autumn rain.

Hayley Wandel farms in Scaddan, 60 kilometres north of Esperance.

She hasn't had any rain from the recent thunderstorms, but she's decided to get one crop out of the way before the main cereals go in, a total of 7,000 hectares.

"We've started with faba beans which will be exported to Egypt.

"Faba beans can cope with sitting in the ground dry for two to three weeks, so it's more about time management, if anything, to get them out of the way.

"Once it does rain, we can get on with the rest of the cropping program."


© ABC 2014

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