- Cropping in the northern and western parts of the central cropping area is tracking well: good follow-up rainfall in the last week has increased soil moisture, bringing total growing-season (May–October) rainfall to 50–80% of the median across this area.
- Conditions in the far-eastern and south-eastern parts of the grainbelt are not so fortunate: there were lighter falls, with the Shires of Kondinin, Kulin, Lake Grace, Jerramungup, Ravensthorpe, Kent, parts of Esperance, and east of Albany having total growing-season rainfall to date of 10% to 40% of the median. Soil moisture in the root zone remains below average or very below average in these areas.
- Plant available soil moisture is low in the eastern and south-eastern areas.
- There remains a shortage of feed supplies across the state; pasture feed on offer is still limited. Cold temperatures will slow the growth of pastures.
- Growers are likely to be hand-feeding for the next 4–6 weeks until paddock feed on offer is at sufficient levels.
See the seasonal rainfall update newsletter for a full set of recent rain and soil moisture maps and information.
The second week of June has provided follow-up rainfall for northern cropping areas, as well as western parts of the central cropping area. Far eastern and south-eastern parts of the grainbelt received lighter falls, as expected from the wind pattern. Deep low-pressure systems generated strong north-westerly winds. The week also brought winter-season rain to the Pilbara region from a cloud band. Most rainfall stations are still less than decile 3 for rainfall since 1 April 2018.
- See the rainfall to date tool for your recording station.
- See the last week's rainfall:
Most areas have finished sowing, and the northern, western, and south-western grainbelt have had enough rain to support normal seasonal growth. The eastern and south-eastern grainbelt are still relatively dry, with little soil moisture.
Strong prefrontal winds in the last week caused damage to emerging crops and erosion of lighter soils.
Post-emergent weed management is now relevant in most areas.
Pastures and livestock
This year there is high probability of having a longer period of under-nutrition compared to last year. The first priority is to keep feeding lactating ewes until there is 700 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha) of pasture feed on offer (FOO).
Consistent pasture growth following a reasonable germination requires about 10 millimetres (mm) rainfall per week. That level of rainfall could achieve daily pasture growth of 5–10kg/ha over the winter period. This means it will take at least 70 days on deferred pastures to get 700kg/ha: that is, by early-August. Slower growth rates or early grazing means the target FOO is likely to be achieved in spring.
This year, later pasture germination means that total pasture production is forecast to be, at best, 75% of the average year yield.
Pregnancy toxaemia and hypocalcaemia are problems brought on by poor feed, not enough feed, and inadequate calcium or glucose to meet demands of pregnant ewes. Consult your livestock adviser if your sheep have these problems.
A cold front is predicted to cross the WA coast on 18 and 19 June. A week of fine weather is expected after that. Relatively lighter rainfall is predicted for the eastern grainbelt and south coast.
The Gascoyne and southern Pilbara have had significant rain in the week ending 14 June. Moderate rainfall is forecast in the same area for the week 13–20 June.
View the models for wind and rain in windy.com for that time.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s outlook is for below-average rain in June to August. DPIRD’s Statistical Seasonal Forecast model is for below-average rainfall (decile 2–3) for June–August in most of the grainbelt, with some areas at decile 1.
Maximum temperatures are expected to be slightly above average, and minimum temperatures are expected to be about average.
Since 2012, the May–October outlook has been correct in 5 years out of 6 for the northern and central grainbelt, 2 years out of 6 in the southern region, and 4 years out of 6 in the Esperance region.
- Seasonal climate information: rainfall, soil moisture, frost risk
- Seasonal climate outlook newsletter
- Grain Industry Association of Western Australia (GIWA) crop reports for 2018: a monthly forecasting service, released by the end of the second week each month, which estimates grain production and yield in Western Australia for the forthcoming harvest season. These reports have detailed delivery zone information for the month.
- Managing post-emergent weeds
- Crop nitrogen decisions in a dry year: a GRDC site
Ewes with lambs will need supplementary feeding in most areas until paddock food on offer reaches 700kg dry matter per hectare.
Grain and hay feed supplies remain in short supply.
- CBH Outturns and stockfeed: the site provides information on the process for acquiring stockfeed grain
- Strategies and tactics for sheep producers in a poor season: this information was collated in response to the poor conditions in 2017, and includes information on whether to keep, agist or sell livestock
- Is it fit to load? A national guide to selecting animals fit to transport: a PDF download (Meat and Livestock Australia)
- Tools and calculators for sheep and grazing management: use the sheep condition score app for the mob's nutritional status; use the supplementary feed calculator for ewes on low green feed; and the use the feed cost calculator for costing the nutritional needs of kept sheep
- Supplementary feeding and feed budgeting of sheep: a full explanation of the options and how to choose feed sources based on energy and cost
- Supplementary feeding calculator for pregnant and lactating ewes
- Drought feeding and management of beef cattle: a PDF download
- Drought feeding and management of sheep: a PDF download
- Feeding and managing sheep in dry times: a PDF download
- Confined paddock feeding and feedlotting
- Deferred grazing of pastures: grazing sheep at the break of seasons
- Managing pregnancy in ewes
- Pregnancy toxaemia and hypocalcaemia of ewes
- WA Livestock Disease Outlook: a monthly newsletter for producers
Soil erosion risk this month (June) is high as a result of low levels of groundcover, low soil moisture and areas of disturbed ground for cropping. Pre-frontal north-westerly winds, which are expected at this time of year, are likely to cause significant wind erosion on susceptible soils. Intense rainfall can cause water erosion on sloping landscapes.
- Reducing wind and water erosion risk
- Emergency livestock water supplies
- Maintaining roaded catchments and dams
- Western Australia’s rural health, financial & information services support directory
- Rural Financial Counselling Service WA: free call 1800 612 044 for free financial counselling services to assist primary producers
- Regional Men’s Health Initiative: call +61 (0)8 9690 2277
Contact your local DPIRD office to find out who can help you on any of the topics above. You can also suggest any changes to this page.