Eastern farms short of rain

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Darker red indicates severe rainfall deficiency, and lighter red means serious rainfall deficiency.
Camera IconDarker red indicates severe rainfall deficiency, and lighter red means serious rainfall deficiency.

Farmers between Albany and Hopetoun have recorded some of the lowest yearly rainfall totals on record.

The Bureau of Meteorology has released a drought report detailing the area as a severe rain deficiency zone, very similar to the current drought in the Eastern States.

Great Southern farming areas including Wellstead, Green Range, Gairdner, Bremer Bay and Jerramungup are included in the drought zone.

Wellstead cropping and livestock farmer Bradley Williams said he had recorded less than 200mm for the year — a significant amount less than the 950mm received in 2017.

“The further you move towards Gairdner the worse that gets,” he said. “Considering how much rainfall we have had I am relatively happy with how things are look-ing and it’s not going to be a spectacular harvest but it’s not too bad.

“We did drop about 1000ha of crop off and had to feed out a lot more, particularly around the end of winter.

“You can’t make it rain so you just have to go on with what you have got.”

The local Green Range Country Club and Wellstead Rural have been hosting events throughout the season to get farmers together with like-minded people to ease the burden of the drought.

Mr Williams is roughly three weeks off harvest, and Wellstead Rural’s Rick Chadwick said there was talk of harvest beginning for some farmers this week.

“The farmers that come in from Gairdner have barely cracked two inches for the year,” he said.

“It isn’t good out here and Swamp Road, which is 10km east of Boxwood Hill, is some of the worst area I have heard of.

“I used to farm down near that road and we had a terrible drought in 1969-70.

“But this is by far worse than that.”

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