Season 2020 – seasonal and management information for Western Australian farmers

Page last updated: Tuesday, 14 July 2020 - 3:18pm

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

See rangeland season information for pastoral areas.

The National On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme

The National On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme is now over-subscribed, and the current funding allocated to Western Australia by the Commonwealth Government in both 2019-20 and 2020-21 has been fully allocated.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) will continue to accept new applications for the Scheme in Western Australia, and the applications will be progressed in the order received if additional funding is made available by the Commonwealth.

For more information, visit the DWER National On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme web page or contact DWER’s Rural Water Planning team on 1800 780 300.

News

  • Rain – rain over the last few weeks has been patchy with limited runoff, and soil moisture is still very low in most areas. See crop management (below) for information. See the department's online weather stations map for recent rainfalls.
  • Wind erosion: There was significant wind erosion in many areas of South West WA in May, leading to sandblasted crops and the need for reseeding. Sand across roads and reduced visibility on many roads were hazards.
  • Pastures from space: A map showing feed on offer (FOO) and plant growth rate (PGR) is now available through the linked page. Feed on offer and pasture growth rates are low in most of the grainbelt, and supplementary feeding of livestock is likely to be needed in those areas.
  • Climate outlook: The outlook for July to September is for 40–60% chance of exceeding median rainfall in most areas, with 70–80% chance in the south and parts of the north and eastern grainbelt. The most probable rainfall decile map indicates decile 8–9 for most of the South West Land Division, with decile 4–7 elsewhere.
  • Note for commercial horticulturalists: The National On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme is available to eligible commercial horticultural and 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. Note that the Scheme is over-subscribed.
  • Water supplies: DPIRD is working with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), the Water Corporation and local governments to monitor and manage community water supplies.

Quick links

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Livestock and pasture situation

Feed and water are limited on many farms in the central and southern agricultural areas. Continue feeding livestock to maintain target weights, especially for pregnant livestock.

Livestock management

For the next few months

Sheep nutrition and water

Cattle nutrition

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Sheep and cattle health and animal welfare

Crop situation

Strong winds ahead of fronts have sandbalsted crops in the northern and south-easter grainbelt. If too late to replant normal crops, we recommend using cereal rye (GRDC Grow Notes), triticale (GRDC Grow Notes) or barley to grow a cover crop with stable stubble for summer erosion control.

Patchy rainfall and areas of low rainfall have shown extensive areas of water repellent soils. Wetting and drying conditions can make water repellence worse. Check the soil water repellence page for short-term and long-term management options.

  • 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

  • It is time to maintain 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 (see the comment at the top of this page).
  • 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

See the Seasonal climate outlook newsletter for a full set of situation and forecast information.

For July to September, DPIRD's forecast is for 40–60% chance of exceeding median rainfall in most areas, with 70–80% chance in the south and parts of the north and eastern grainbelt. The most probable rainfall decile map indicates decile 8–9 for most of the South West Land Division, with decile 4–7 elsewhere.

The Bureau of Meteorology's forecast for that period is for a high chance of average daytime maxima and minima being above average.

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.