Strong wind last week unsettles the nerves of Great Southern farmers and their recently seeded paddocks

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithGreat Southern Herald
Barley emerges in Badgebup after the wind event last week.
Camera IconBarley emerges in Badgebup after the wind event last week. Credit: Moojepin Merinos

Strong winds last Wednesday unnerved farmers across the region as recently seeded crops and bare paddocks were blown away.

There was some rain relief after the winds, but Jerramungup farmer Paul Barrett said they needed the rain before the wind event to settle their paddocks.

“We had a bit of damage, I think everyone has,” he said.

“I think it was a combination of it being warm, clear and windy and that was the perfect recipe for it. And of course we are very extraordinarily dry.

“We had a little bit of rain after. I would have liked to see some before the wind of course but we ended up with about 12ml to 7ml which is better than nothing.”

Farming in a water deficient area, he finished seeding on June 3 and most of his crops had germinated.

He has received little rain since then.

Mr Barrett said while it was not as bad as the 2018 wind events, there was still a lot of damage around the region.

“The wind takes the top soil off and it bruises the crop,” he said.

“Last week a lot of the fine soil got going in the wind, but in 2018 the bigger dirt got going too.

“There was dust everywhere during last week’s storm. I couldn’t see, at one stage, 100m in front of me.

Like many in the Great Southern, Mr Barrett is desperate for good rainfall to put water in his dams.

He has been carting water for stock since mid-March.

“We are not in trouble yet but if it continues for another month or so we could get into a bit of trouble then,” he said.

“If we don’t get a lot of winter rain to run a lot of water then we rely on our summer rain to run our water and we didn’t get any of that for the third year in a row and that’s why we have been caught out.

“Generally speaking us guys on the south coast, this is unusual for us, especially for three years in a row.”

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