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Wheatbelt farmers get rain they've been waiting for

David Cussons, Friday July 12, 2013 - 16:53 EST
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Young River on WA's south coast has received significant rain - ABC

Good news for some farmers desperately seeking rain off the back of an incredibly dry June, with much needed falls coming for some overnight.

Perhaps the best falls were in the Kondinin district, where they tipped 71mm out at the Post Office in 24-hours.

Kondinin farmer Don Pegrum says it was a good night on a couple of fronts, watching cricketer Ashton Agar scoring runs in the first Ashes test before 56 and a half mills of rain started falling.

"I thought ah well, three or four or five mills if we're lucky, would just sort of hold us in a holding pattern, keep things alive, and then I woke up about half past three and it was absolutely flogging down, and so then I just layed awake until about seven o'clock with it just sort of raining, yeah music to your ears."

Further north rainfall totals weren't as large and were quite sporadic, however Geraldton-based agronomist Grant Thompson says even the lower falls are beneficial.

"We were in a position where our crops were hanging on very well considering, the bigger totals will keep us humming along quite nicely for a couple of weeks now. I do a lot of soil moisture probe work so I monitor crop daily water use from time to time and some of the bigger, more mature crops that were dry sown for example they were burning through 2 to 2.5mm of plant available water a day, so you can pretty easily work out what rainfall will do to sustain those crops."

"Some of the smaller crops that were planted later were burning up half to 1 to 1.5mm of plant available water a day so really the smaller rainfall events only give us a couple of days breathing space and then they might be back to a transient, moisture-stressed state for a fair part of the day."

In the eastern wheatbelt, rainfall overnight for grain growers with some crop out of the ground will help, as Merredin-based agronomist Michael Hickey explains.

He was in Mukinbudin this morning where 17mm of rain fell in town.

"Some areas haven't been so bad."

"We were in a position where our crops were hanging in there so the bigger totals will keep us humming along nicely."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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