Season 2019: seasonal and management information for Western Australian farmers

Page last updated: Monday, 16 September 2019 - 8:51am

This page provides seasonally relevant information on conditions and management options for September, October and November 2019 in the agricultural areas of Western Australia (WA).

Seasonal information for pastoralists is at 2019 northern pastoral season.

Quick links

News

  • The Commonwealth’s On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme is now available to eligible commercial livestock farmers and pastoralists in WA. The rebate is for 25% up to a maximum of $25 000 for the purchase, delivery and installation of new water infrastructure to address animal welfare needs and improve business resilience. The rebate is being administered by the WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.
  • Climate outlook: climate modelling for southern WA indicates slightly below-average rainfall September–October.
  • Water supplies: community livestock and crop spraying water supplies are being used at a rapid rate. DPIRD is working with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), the Water Corporation and local governments to monitor and manage those water supplies.
  • Livestock: Feed on offer and pasture growth rates have been good in August and early September, but warm conditions and a forecast early finish to the season means that pasture reserves over summer are forecast to be low in many southern areas.
  • Plan now to control erosion this coming summer: as a result of the climate outlook, and expected lower than average biomass production this season, wind erosion risk is likely to be high next summer.

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Livestock and pasture situation

Pasture production in some southern shires has been much lower than average, and the risk of erosion over the coming summer is high.

  • Pasture feed on offer (FOO) and growth rate maps (maps from Pastures from Space)
  • Soil water graphs: for up to date graphs of plant available soil water, and for more infomation on the models behind the maps in either a cropped or fallow paddock. Plant available soil water graphs show the amount of soil water accumulated from the start of summer (1 November) through the grain growing season can be used to support seasonal decisions.
  • Plant available soil water maps for fallow are produced from March to June for different soil types using the Ritchie two-layer fallow evaporation model run from the first of November in the previous year.
  • Plant available soil water maps for crop are produced from July to October for different soil types using evapotranspiration of a generic wheat crop is estimated using the FAO crop factor method, where the timing of crop germination (break of season) is estimated using a two-part rule.
  • Do a livestock water budget now. Allow for silted dams, and an early finish to the 2019 season. Plan now for earthworks that improve water harvesting and storage.
  • Do a livestock feed budget now. Include supplementary feeding over summer and into late autumn 2020.

See the nutrition links below.

Livestock management

Nutrition and water

Livestock News AgMemo March 2019

Background:

These should help feed decisions:

Following germination of pastures

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Livestock health and animal welfare

Crop situation

Crops in some areas have been damaged by frost, and warm to hot dry conditions in early September have led to moisture stress for some crops. Modelling forecasts an early finish to the 2019 growing season.

  • Soil water graphs: for up to date graphs of plant available soil water, and for more infomation on the models behind the maps in either a cropped or fallow paddock. Plant available soil water graphs show the amount of soil water accumulated from the start of summer (1 November) through the grain growing season can be used to support seasonal decisions.
  • Plant available soil water maps for fallow are produced from March to June for different soil types using the Ritchie two-layer fallow evaporation model run from the first of November in the previous year.
  • Plant available soil water maps for crop are produced from July to October for different soil types using evapotranspiration of a generic wheat crop is estimated using the FAO crop factor method, where the timing of crop germination (break of season) is estimated using a two-part rule.

Crop management

  • Frost tools and support: frost damage identification in cereals, canola and pulses, and links to management
  • Insect pests are active: see the PestFax newsletter for weekly updates of pests and diseases threatening crops and pastures throughout the grain belt of WA
  • Spray water
    Landholders requiring large quantities of high quality water to mix with herbicide to control weeds can only do so from strategic locations. Contact your local government office for access to local standpipes that can be used for spray water. View the Water Corporation information for fixed standpipes on scheme supplies that can be used for spray water.
    Water for livestock use is the priority for community water supplies, to avoid any animal welfare issues.
    As a result, landholders in areas affected by the dry conditions (shires of Ravensthorpe, Jerramungup, Lake Grace and adjacent districts) may need to travel further than normal to access water for spraying.
  • Water quality for spraying crops and pastures
  • Wheat yield potential, sowing time and management in season 2019
  • Plant available soil water app: graphs rainfall for a given weather station, from  the start of summer through the grain growing season, and can be used to support management decisions.

Cropping – getting ready for harvesting

 

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Land and water management

  • The National On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme is available to eligible commercial livestock farmers and pastoralists in rural WA. Information for applicants also has links to the application forms.
    The rebate is for 25% up to a maximum of $25 000 for the purchase of new water infrastructure, delivery and installation to address animal welfare needs and improve resilience to drought.
    Eligible items include water storage devices, such as tanks and troughs, pipes, fittings and pumps associated with water distribution systems, new bores and the desilting of dams by a contractor.
    Rebates can be applied to costs incurred after 30 June 2018, and applications close 30 April 2021 or when the funding allocation is exhausted, whichever occurs first.
  • Water deficiency declaration process: If strategic community water supplies in an area become depleted for livestock, the WA Government can make a Water Deficiency Declaration.
    • The local government needs to demonstrate that 5 or more farmers within a 20 kilometre (km) radius have to travel more than 40km to an off-farm source to access suitable water for livestock.
    • The local government makes a formal Water Deficiency Declaration request to DWER.
    • DWER consults with DPIRD, then makes a recommendation to the Minister for Water.
    • After the declaration is made, the state government is required to provide water for livestock needs at a central storage point, within a 40km radius of the farms concerned.
    • For more information visit the DWER website.
  • Community water supply program (Department of Water and Environmental Regulation): contact Tracy Calvert at tracy.calvert@dwer.wa.gov.au; 9841 0122 (Albany) or 0428 180 240
  • Strategic community water supplies (Department of Water and Environmental Regulation)
  • Reducing wind erosion risk
  • Maintaining roaded catchments and dams. Plan now for new dams and roaded catchments.
  • Calculating dam water volume and drawdown by livestock and evaporation

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Climate situation and outlook

Climate resources

  • Windy.com to see animated global weather conditions affecting Western Australia.

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Health and financial assistance

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Contacts

Contact your local DPIRD office to find out who can help you on any of the topics above.