Region enjoys good soak

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Wellstead farmer Shane Davy was happy with the soaking rain that fell at his place last week.
Camera IconWellstead farmer Shane Davy was happy with the soaking rain that fell at his place last week. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

It was a matter of perfect timing for farmers last week as rain fell and settled the dust after a long run of miserable, dry conditions.

Sub-soil moisture around the Great Southern is non-existent after a dry 2018 and a dry summer, but last week’s scattered rain was enough to get farmers excited about the coming season.

Farmers lucky enough to receive the first major fall of the year were pleased to see rain falling in empty and flushed dams.

The rain was also a blessing for farmers planting pastures to feed livestock. Wellstead sheep and crop farmer Shane Davy said the 30mm his farm received was hopefully enough to get pasture crops germinating, with pasture seeding happening now and crop seeding on the horizon.

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“We have been hand-feeding sheep for a while compared to normal where we would have a good feed of hay each year,” he said

“The early rain allows us to do more things early on in our program, get our pastures in, and we should get a fairly good germination.

“A follow-up rain will take the pressure off feeding sheep.

“Mind you, it will start to dry out quick, so a follow-up rain is what we really need to get things going along nicely.

“It was as dry as I’ve ever seen it since I have been farming.”

Between his two properties, he had between 220mm and 300mm of rainfall during 2018.

The previous year he had between 700mm and 900mm.

Up until this week, only 4mm of rain had fallen in almost four months.

From water erosion in 2017 to wind erosion in 2018, he said timely rain had a knack of lifting farmers’ moods rather quickly at this time of year.

“It certainly changes your mood a bit — it was miserable working in the dust every day,” Mr Davy said.

“A bit of rain makes you happy again pretty quickly.”

Croppers across the region are hoping for more rain as they prepare to sow their crops in the coming weeks.

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