- Western and south-western areas have a close to normal season.
- The far-eastern and south-eastern parts of the grainbelt are much drier than average: The Shires of Lake Grace, Jerramungup, Ravensthorpe, north-western areas of Esperance, and east of Albany having total growing-season rainfall to date of 20% to 50% of the median.
- Soil moisture in the root zone remains below average for the entire eastern grainbelt. Locations from Trayning to Jerramungup and further east are well below average.
- Feed supplies are limited 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 livestock into August, until paddock feed on offer is at sufficient levels.
- The option of grazing crops is possible in some areas.
See the seasonal rainfall update newsletter for a full set of recent rain and soil moisture maps and information.
The south coast and far north-eastern areas of the grainbelt have received mostly less than 100m of rain this month. The west coast from Shark Bay to the south west and much of the central grainbelt has received greater than 25mm of rain.
Western and south-western locations have received good rainfall to date, and may achieve average rain for the month. Rainfall over the south-eastern grainbelt remains well below average to date.
Gascoyne and Pilbara have had well above-average rainfall for the month to date, noting that this is a time of year when rainfall is usually low.
- See the rainfall to date tool for your recording station.
- See the last week's rainfall:
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. Germination is at varying stages and patchy in some locations.
Post-emergent weed management is now relevant in most areas. Insect damage to germinating crops has been reported in lower central grainbelt.
Grazing crops is an option that, when done correctly, will improve whole farm profit. Livestock profitability offsets the potential yield reduction.
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). Current FOO estimates range from more than 500 in the western agricultural areas to less than 50kg DM/ha in the eastern grainbelt. plant growth rates are typicaly below 10kg/ha/day. Our latest information from remote sensing is:
- Food on offer in the south-west of WA for the week ending 3 July 2018
- Pasture growth rates in kilograms of dry matter per hectare per day for the week ending 3 July 2018
Careful grazing of crops is a farm management tool that can assist in maintain livestock condition and to defer grazing of pastures.
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 30-60 days on deferred pastures to get 700kg/ha: that is, in August or later. Slower growth rates or early grazing means the target FOO is likely to be achieved in spring.
This year, delayed pasture germination means that total pasture production is forecast to be, at best, 75% of the average year yield. Premature grazing will slow plant growth, further limiting total pasture production.
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.
The next week is likely to provide light rainfall of 10mm or less throughout the grainbelt.
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 five years out of six for the northern and central grainbelt, two years out of six in the southern region, and four years out of six in the Esperance region.
- Seasonal climate information: rainfall, soil moisture, frost risk
- Seasonal climate outlook newsletter
- Grazing cropped land: an detailed report on options and potential downsides of grazing crops by Grain and Graze.
- Research reveals tips in profitable crop grazing: a video provided by GRDC
- 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.
- Pasture food on offer and growth rate maps 2018
- 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
- Grazing cereal crops: Tough break to the season - Grazing cereal crops to fill the gap (Ovine Observer #83)
- 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. Jump to the introduction of feed grains section
- Supplementary feeding calculator for pregnant and lactating ewes
- Confined paddock feeding and feedlotting
- Deferred grazing of pastures: grazing sheep at the break of seasons plus FOO and plant growth rate maps
- Managing pregnancy in ewes
- Pregnancy toxaemia and hypocalcaemia of ewes
- WA Livestock Disease Outlook: a monthly newsletter for producers
Additional background references for livestock
- Dry seasons resources: Resources for agricultural businesses, consultants, grower groups, farming organisations and regional communities to help reduce the impact of dry seasons
- Drought feeding and management of beef cattle: PDF download
- Drought feeding and management of sheep: PDF download
- Feeding and managing sheep in dry times: PDF download
- Is it fit to load? A national guide to selecting animals fit to transport: PDF download (Meat and Livestock Australia)
Land and water
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.
Health and finances
- Western Australia’s rural health, financial and 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.