Latest updates and advice
- Populations of mice are widespread across the grainbelt including areas where they have not been seen previously. Landholders are urged to monitor active burrows at several sites and report mice activity — chew cards cannot be relied upon whilst food sources are high. See Mice section.
- Food on offer (FOO) from pastures is currently low in most agricultural areas and slow pasture growth rates (PGR) are unlikely to keep up with consumption. Producers should use feed budgets to determine supplementary feeding requirements, as current FOO and PGR suggest supplementary feeding may be required until mid–late June. See Livestock management section.
- Grainbelt landholders are reminded to implement strategies to protect paddocks from the risk of wind erosion. See Crop management section.
- In the aftermath of extensive fire damage to regional areas, affected landholders can refer to Farm recovery after fire for information on farm management and support.
Mice activity has been increasing and reported in areas where not previously seen. Mice cause damage at all stages of crop development but is most severe at sowing so it is critical to control mice as the crop is being sown.
Landholders are advised to:
• 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.
- 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 Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) currently approves two concentrations of zinc phosphide mouse bait (25g/kg and 50g/kg zinc phosphide). 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.
- GRDC Mice Portal
- Diagnosing mouse damage
- Economic considerations for mouse control
- FeralScan MouseAlert app
- Due to limited rain events, food on offer (FOO) from pastures is currently low in most agricultural areas (less than 200kg DM/ha). Pasture growth rates (PGR) are also slow and unlikely to keep up with pasture consumption. After a rain event, pastures can take 6-8 weeks of growth before they are ready to be grazed. Producers should use feed budgets to determine if they need to continue supplementary feeding. At current FOO and PGR supplementary feeding may be required until mid–late June. Refer to links in the 'Management resources' section below.
- Fires in the eastern wheatbelt and south west over summer have caused extensive damage to properties and livestock. Refer to the 'Managing animals' section of Farm recovery after fire for information to assist.
- With limited availability of pasture and/or stubbles following the fires, producers should consider confinement feeding to protect their paddocks and optimise nutritional requirements.
- Farm recovery after fire
- Sheep feeding and nutrition
- Supplementary feeding and feed budgeting for sheep
- Management tools and calculators for sheep
- Grazing stubbles and dry pastures
- Confined paddock feeding and feedlotting of sheep
Animal health and welfare resources
- Is your livestock fit to load? (PDF from Meat & Livestock Australia)
- WA livestock disease outlook: a monthly newsletter for producers
- Condition scoring sheep
- Welfare decisions for sheep and cattle
- A national guide to describing and managing beef cattle in low body condition (PDF from Meat & Livestock Australia)
- Managing flystrike in sheep
- Seeding programs are well underway across the grainbelt. Growers should continue to manage wind erosion risk on vulnerable paddocks
- Growers are advised to defer soil amelioration activities until soil is moist to reduce erosion risk and optimise the benefits.
- To manage erosion risk and crop paddocks affected by fire, refer to Cropping paddocks after fire.
- GRDC Deep ripping fact sheet
- Seeding into deep ripped or renovated soils
- Managing wind erosion
- Farm recovery after fire
- Cropping paddocks after fire
- Manage erosion risk on bare soils resulting from fire damage and protect water supplies from contamination. For information to assist, refer to the 'Soils and pasture managment ' and Water supplies and quality' sections of Farm recovery after fire.
- See information and options for preventing, reducing or managing wind erosion in cropping and pasture systems.
The hot, windy summer took a toll on farm water storage with water deficiencies declared for Salmon Gums and Grass Patch in the Shire of Esperance. Refer to DWER Rural Water Support
- Plan for and invest in reliable on-farm water supplies.
- Groundwater desalination on farms in Western Australia: Please remember that you must submit a notice of intent to drain or pump water – desalination (NOI), together with the neighbour comments, to the Commissioner of Soil and Land Conservation at least 90 days before intended discharge.
- It is time to maintain roaded catchments and dams. Plan now for new dams and roaded catchments.
Keep updated and report
Learn about the latest pests and diseases activity in WA and how to identify and manage them by reading the PestFax e-newsletter. The PestFax map provides a visual display of current and historical insect or plant disease activity reported in WA. The PestFax 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 free PestFax Reporter app.
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.
Climate situation and outlook
- April rainfall was mixed, with the north and the south coast being above average and the southwest being near-average or drier than normal. This pattern was also reflected over the three months to April, with the eastern region also receiving above normal rainfall. Soil water storage follows this, being well above average for this time of year over much of the northern, eastern and southern agricultural areas.
- Rainfall outlook for May 2022 from BoM , updated 28 April, indicated neutral rain chances for the agricultural area of WA. The ECMWF multi-week outlook for May indicated a drier than normal first week followed by near-normal rainfall thereafter for agricultural areas.
- BoM seasonal rainfall outlook for May to July 2022 has a neutral outlook for agricultural areas; the predictive skill is moderate to good. DPIRD’s Statistical Seasonal Forecast (SSF) for the same period has a mixed but mostly neutral rainfall outlook, with moderate to good predictive skill for most parts of the region.
- See the Seasonal climate outlook newsletter for the latest situation and forecast information.
DPIRD rainfall forecasts, soil water maps, potential yield maps, and frost risk maps
Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) weekly rainfall
|Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) forecasts||BoM Water and Land|
BoM daily rainfall and other local climate records
DPIRD weather station - rainfall information
|DPIRD online weather stations map|
Climate analysis for decision makers
Animated global weather conditions affecting WA