Season 2020 – seasonal and management information for Western Australian farmers

Page last updated: Thursday, 13 February 2020 - 10:38am

This page provides seasonally relevant information on conditions and management options for February to May 2020 in the agricultural areas of Western Australia (WA). Contact the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development for local information.

See rangeland season information for pastoral areas.

On-farm water storage in many areas of the South Coast is critical, and several areas have been declared water deficient (for livestock).

A range of Federal and State assistance measures are in place (see the Support services directory) with contacts and links to financial support measures, water support, regional counselling services and crisis care.

Quick links

News

  • The Commonwealth’s On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme is 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: The BoM seasonal rainfall outlook for February to May 2020 is for near-normal rainfall chances over most of the agricultural area. This is an improvement on previous outlooks.
  • Water supplies: Community livestock water supplies are being used at a rapid and unsustainable 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.
  • Plan now to control erosion this coming summer: as a result of the climate outlook, and expected lower than average biomass production in 2019, wind erosion risk is high and some erosion has already been reported.

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Livestock and pasture situation

Pasture biomass and ground cover is much lower than average for the season. Available pasture feed for the summer and autumn is likely to be limiting, and the risk of wind erosion over summer is high.

See the nutrition links below.

Livestock management

We recommend testing feed (bought and on-farm) and water before providing to livestock.

Do you pregnancy scan? Pregnancy scanning is an important tool to understand the potential of the lambing season and to efficiently manage the ewe flock.

Nutrition and water

Livestock News AgMemo October 2019

CBH outturns and stockfeed: the site provides information on the process for acquiring stockfeed grain

Background:

End of the pasture season

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Livestock health and animal welfare

Crop situation

Many crops in the eastern and north-eastern grainbelt were short or patchy, with yields lower than average. These crops have a higher than average risk of wind and water erosion over summer and autumn. Erosion risk can be reduced with recommended stubble management.

  • 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

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Land and water management

  • Maintaining roaded catchments and dams. Plan now for new dams and roaded catchments.
  • Calculating dam water volume and drawdown by livestock and evaporation
  • The National On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme is available to eligible commercial horticultural and 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.
  • Farm Water Supply Planning Scheme: If you are commercial broadacre farmer who is experiencing water shortages, you can apply for a rebate to assist with an audit of your farm water.
    Farmers who have had an audit undertaken before 31 May 2018 remain eligible for a rebate of 50% up to $500 towards the farm audit and 50% up to $250 for an auditor to complete a call back inspection. Any audits undertaken from 1 June 2018 will be eligible for 50% up to $1000 for an audit.
    Registered Auditors are listed on the DWER site.
  • 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

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Climate situation and outlook

The BoM seasonal rainfall outlook for February to May 2020 is for near-normal rainfall chances over most of the agricultural area. This is an improvement on previous outlooks.

Climate resources

  • Australian CliMate online app - Climate analysis for decision makers. Question focused analyses for exploration of weather data across Australia. CliMate is also available for iOS and Android devices.
  • Windy.com to see animated global weather conditions affecting Western Australia.

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Support services directory

A range of Federal and State assistance measures are in place to support farmers and pastoralists experiencing hardship, as a result of seasonal pressures.

The Support Services Directory harnesses a range of financial, water and welling support, as well as links to Regional Counselling Services and 24/7 crisis care.

Western Australia does not have a drought declaration system so no formal declaration needs to be made to access these services.

The Federal Government’s National Drought Policy and National Drought Agreement aims to build resilience to climate variability and dry season pressures, specifically through bolstering risk management practices and enhancing long-term preparedness. See the national On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme.

Note: the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation administers the WA component of the On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme.

SUPPORT SERVICES DIRECTORY

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Farm Hub

A website that harnesses information about Commonwealth and State/Territory assistance (includes Drought Loans, Farm Investment Loans, Farm Household Allowance)

 

Farm Household Allowance

Assists farming families experiencing financial hardship with income to maintain their household

13 23 16 or 1800 612 004

Drought Loans &

Farm Investment Loans

Low interest loans for businesses to improve the strength, resilience and profitability  of their businesses (provided by the Regional Investment Corporation)

1800 875 675

loans@service.ric.gov.au

Rural Financial Counselling Service WA

Free financial counselling service to assist primary producers

1800 612 044

admin@rfcswa.com.au

Farm Debt Mediation Scheme

Assists farm and pastoral businesses and financial institutions to resolve disputes about business financial arrangements, through a low cost and non-legal form of mediation

1800 198 231

rbdu.loans@agric.wa.gov.au

Farmer Assistance Hotline

Income support programs for farmers and rural small businesses

13 23 16

CWA of WA Drought Assistance

Funds for household expenses

9321 6041

info@cwaofwa.asn.au

WATER SUPPORT

National On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme (WA)

Rebates of 25% up to a maximum of $25 000 for the purchase and installation of new water infrastructure and equipment to eligible commercial livestock farmers and pastoralists

1800 780 300

ruralwater@dwer.wa.gov.au

Community Water Supply Program

Grants of up to $100 000 available for community water supply development and improvements in dryland agricultural areas receiving <600mm average annual rainfall

1800 780 300

ruralwater@dwer.wa.gov.au

Management of Strategic Community Water Supplies

Network of strategic community water supplies in WA dryland agricultural areas to provide emergency stock water

1800 780 300

ruralwater@dwer.wa.gov.au

Water Deficiency Declarations

Emergency water for livestock provided by the State government carted to a central point, coordinated via local shires

1800 780 300

ruralwater@dwer.wa.gov.au

Farm Water Supply Planning Scheme

Rebates of up to $1000 for commercial broadacre farmers experiencing water shortages to fund an audit of farm water supply and potential improvements

1800 780 300

ruralwater@dwer.wa.gov.au

WELLBEING

Lifeline

24–hour crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health support services

13 11 14

Regional Counselling Services

Counselling for individuals, couples and families experiencing challenges to help them cope, improve wellbeing and identify options

Click here for local counselling services

Regional Men’s Health Initiative

Provides support and education services to regional men, communities and health services

9690 2277 (office hours)

menshealth@4blokes.com.au

Women’s Information Service

Provides information and referrals regarding health, finances, legal matters, counselling and domestic crisis

1800 199 174

wis@dlgc.wa.gov.au

OTHER INFORMATION

Western Australia’s rural health, financial & information services support directory

Contacts for a range of 24 hour support, financial and family counselling, health, emergency and ancillary services

 

Grant funding opportunity to manage pest animals and weeds

The Australian Government is inviting local councils via a restricted competitive process to apply to deliver projects under the Communities Combating Pests and Weed Impacts During Drought Program - Biosecurity Management of Pests and Weeds - Round 2 in selected Local Government Areas (LGAs) in 2019–2021.

1800 020 283

support@communitygrants.gov.au

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Contacts

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