Season 2022: information for WA farmers

Page last updated: Thursday, 1 December 2022 - 10:16am

The Season 2022 webpage contains seasonally relevant information and management options in the agricultural areas of Western Australia. Regular review and updated information is coordinated through DPIRD's Farming Systems Innovation - Regional Intelligence and Adoption branch.

Latest updates and advice

  • Impacts of high rainfall and hail damage from recent thunderstorms across areas of the grainbelt include lost crops, potential sprouting and mice feeding on spilt grain. See Crop Management and Mice sections.
  • Harvest has commenced in all port zones but has been slow in parts due to cool and/or wet conditions. See Crop Management section.
  • Populations of mice are still widespread across the grainbelt and spilt grain from hail-damaged crops in some areas has provided a ready food source. Growers are encouraged to harvest as cleanly as possible to reduce further mouse food availability, use seed destructors if possible and continue to monitor, report mice activity and bait where necessary. See Mice section. 
  • If wet conditions continue over summer, management of  ‘green bridge’ from weed and crop regrowth will be required to reduce disease and pest risk in the 2023 season. See Crop Management section.
  • Environmental conditions and shearing delays have been conducive to flystrike in sheep. See Livestock section
  • Livestock producers are encouraged to keep up to date with emergency animal disease prevention and preparedness information regarding the potential threats of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and lumpy skin disease (LSD), since their detection in Indonesia this year. See Livestock section.

Seasonal issues

Mice

Mice populations are widespread and reported in areas where not previously seen. Mice cause damage at all stages of crop development so it is critical to control mice and continue vigilance throughout the season. 

Food resources left in the paddock could sustain mouse breeding, leading to higher mouse numbers at sowing next year. Food on the ground from hail-damaged crops may also result in mice 'hotspots'.

Landholders are advised to:

  • harvest as cleanly as possible to reduce mouse food availability.  Use seed destructors if possible
  • monitor paddocks for active burrows and grain storage areas for mice activity. Chew cards cannot be relied upon whilst food sources are high. 
  • implement control measures when necessary.
  • report mouse activity using the FeralScan MouseAlert app.
Control measures
  • Good on-farm hygiene is essential
  • Monitoring and detection: this can include the use of hole counts, chew cards and trapping to determine mice numbers
  • Baiting: The department recommends the use of 50g/kg zinc phosphide baits, which has demonstrated increased effectiveness. Landholders are advised to adhere to strict label requirements governing the use of zinc phosphide baits and to ensure livestock and pets are restrained to reduce the risk of poisoning. (Note: Zinc phosphide mouse baits are an S7 chemical and must only be sourced from licenced suppliers and/or manufacturers)
Baiting safety considerations
  • Zinc phosphide is registered for in-crop use only and strict baiting criteria have been established to minimise off target impacts. Bait must not be laid within 50m of the crop perimeter or native vegetation.
  • Zinc phosphide poses little secondary poisoning hazard and does not bioaccumulate in the environment. However, granivorous birds feeding in crops are at risk if bait is laid on bare ground or if patches of bait are spilled during baiting operations.
  • Checking for non-target animal mortalities is a condition for the use of rodenticides. Reports of misuse or wildlife deaths should be forwarded in writing to the Department of Health’s Medicines and Poisons Branch MPRB@health.wa.gov.au.
Resources

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Livestock management

Current situation

  • Pasture growth rates have reduced but there is still some green pasture in southern areas due to the late rains. 
  • Environmental conditions and shearing delays have been conducive to flystrike in sheep.  See Managing flystrike in sheep
  • Previous issues with marketing of livestock have improved slightly with reports of finished lambs being sold to abattoirs in the eastern states.
  • Two significant livestock diseases, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and lumpy skin disease (LSD) are a potential threat to Australian producers since their detection in Indonesia this year. Producers should keep up to date with emergency animal disease prevention and preparedness information. See Emergency Animal Disease Hub.

Management resources

Animal health and welfare resources

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Crop management

Current situation

  • Wet conditions from recent high rainfall events in areas of the grainbelt have slowed harvest and are conducive to pre-harvest sprouting, potentially downgrading grain quality. To manage potential impacts of pre-harvest sprouting see Wheat grain quality - falling number and pre harvest sprouting resistance and 2023 WA Crop sowing guide
  • Harvest has begun in all port zones but has been slow in some areas due to cool and/or wet conditions.  Recent thunderstorms have resulted in crop losses from hail damage in areas of the central grainbelt. GIWA projections at end of October were for a 23 million tonne harvest, with potential impact from  hail damage to be determined.
  • Growers should consider potential disease carryover into the 2023 season if wet conditions are experienced during summer resulting in weed and crop regrowth serving as a ‘green bridge’ for diseases and pests. See PestFacts WA tips for green bridge management over summer
  • Populations of mice are still widespread. Hail-damaged crops provide a food source with spilt feed on the ground. To reduce further mouse food availability, harvest as cleanly as possible and use seed destructors if possible. See Mice section  

Management resources

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Keep updated and report

  • Learn about the latest pests and diseases activity in WA and how to identify and manage them by reading the PestFacts WA e-newsletter.
  • The PestFacts WA map provides a visual display of current and historical insect or plant disease activity reported in WA.
  • The PestFacts WA team welcomes all insect and plant disease reports, and identification requests, so we can continue providing risk alerts to the WA grains industry.  Download and use the new free PestFacts WA Reporter app for both Apple and android devices. The new version replaces the previous PestFax Reporter app, so once the new app is downloaded, please delete the older PestFax Reporter app. 

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Land and water management

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WA’s rural support services

  • For assistance in recovering from fires, refer to Farm recovery after fire.
  • Rural Aid provides assistance for primary producers and now has counsellors located in the WA wheatbelt.
  • For more information on other support services available to help people in rural areas of WA find the assistance they need to deal with stressful situations, please view WA's rural support services webpage and directory

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Climate situation and outlook

  • Early November has seen severe thunderstorms with heavy rain and hail across central and southern cropping regions. Accordingly, estimated soil water storage for the top 1m is notably above average for eastern and southern regions.  
  • Temperatures have been below normal for August to October, with this pattern continuing for the early part of November. Climate conditions should become more suitable for harvest in December.
  • Rainfall deciles for April to October indicate seasonal rain was near-average for northern regions and wetter than normal for eastern and southern cropping regions. The South Coast was much wetter than normal.
  • The Bureau of Meterology's rainfall outlook for December 2022 , updated 14 November, indicates neutral chances of exceeding median rain for most of the agricultural area of WA but a dry outlook for most of the rangelands. The ECMWF multi-week rainfall outlook from 10 November has a neutral outlook into December.  See the ECMWF extended range forecast.
  • The Bureau's seasonal rainfall outlook for November to January 2023 is indicating neutral rainfall chances over the agricultural area, with moderate skill for the period (55 to 65% consistency). See the Bureau’s seasonal outlook video for more details. 
  • The Bureau's seasonal rainfall outlook for December 2022 to February 2023 is indicating neutral to drier than normal rainfall chances over most of WA.  Past accuracy of the model for southwest WA for this period is moderate (55 to 65% consistency). See the BoM’s seasonal outlook video for more details. The seasonal outlook for January to March 2023 (from model run on 10 November) has a similar outlook. 
  • International climate models are also showing neutral rainfall outlooks for the agricultural area and south west of WA for December 2022 to February 2023.
  • DPIRD’s Statistical Seasonal Forecast (SSF) for November 2022 to January 2023, based on October global conditions, has a neutral rainfall outlook for most of the region, but historical predictive skill is poor for that season and lead-time.
  • See the Seasonal climate outlook newsletter for the latest situation and forecast information.
Climate resource Link

DPIRD rainfall forecasts, soil water maps, potential yield maps, and frost risk maps

DPIRD statistical seasonal information

Bureau of Meteorology weekly rainfall

Bureau of Meteorology forecasts Bureau of Meteorology:Water and Land

Bureau of Meteorology daily rainfall and other local climate records

Climate data online

DPIRD weather station - rainfall information

DPIRD online weather stations map

Climate analysis for decision makers

Australian CliMate app (Apple devices)

Animated global weather conditions affecting WA

Windy.com

 

Contacts

Region

Contact

Great Southern

Kelly Hill

Esperance

Brendan Nicholas

Wheatbelt

Juana Paynter

Geraldton

Christine Zaicou-Kunesch

Contact information

Kelly Hill
+61 (0)8 9892 8507
Brendan Nicholas
+61 (0)8 9083 1110
Juana Paynter