Season 2022: information for WA farmers

Page last updated: Wednesday, 31 August 2022 - 2:12pm

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

  • There have been isolated reports of frost damage in the grainbelt. The department has a range of resources available to assist growers to assess crops and evaluate subsequent management strategies and options. See the Frost tools and support webpage.
  • Above average August rainfall across most of the agricultural region has maintained and/or built yield potential across the grainbelt. In southern areas, there are some waterlogged paddocks with isolated yellow patches from nutrient leaching and presenting trafficability problems, requiring aerial fertiliser application. Many crops are further advanced in growth stage for this time of year, presenting a potentially high frost risk. See Crop management 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.
  • Livestock producers may need to monitor worms in sheep and apply control measures where necessary. See Livestock section. 
  • Growers are encouraged to monitor crops for presence and/or damage from pests and diseases, report to Pestfacts WA and control as required. See Crop management and Keep updated and report sections. 
  • Populations of mice are still widespread across the grainbelt.  Landholders are urged to continue monitoring active burrows at several sites, report mice activity and bait where necessary.  See Mice section. 

Seasonal issues

Mice

Mice activity has been increasing 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. 

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.
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

  • 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.
  • Pasture growth rates are improving and generally about average for this time of year. Food-on-offer (FOO) in some areas dipped in recent weeks to below average, due to increased demand from ewes in peak lactation, and the cold, cloudy weather.  This FOO decrease is likely to be temporary as temperatures increase again.
  • Lack of capacity at abattoirs due to labour shortages is frustrating for producers having to keep stock longer and resulting in issues for marketing of product.
  • Producers may need to monitor worms in sheep and apply control measures where necessary 

Management resources

Animal health and welfare resources

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Crop management

Current situation

  • Above average August rainfall across most of the agricultural region has maintained and/or built yield potential across the grainbelt. Crops in the northern and eastern areas of the grainbelt are now looking good after a prolonged dry period. 
  • Many crops are further advanced in growth stage for this time of year which presents a greater period of frost risk. 
  • In southern areas, waterlogged paddocks are difficult to access, requiring aerial fertiliser application., and there are isolated patches of yellowing in crops due to nutrient leaching.
  • Growers are encouraged to monitor for in-season crop pests and diseases and control where necessary. Refer to PestFacts WA for the latest information.

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 Apple devices only.  For android devices continue to use the 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

  • August rain was well above average across most of the agricultural area of WA, partly due to a cloud band over 16-17 August. April to July rainfall deciles were below average for northern and western parts of the agricultural area, despite a wet April, and early rain made the south-east and south coast notably wetter than average.
  • Estimated root-zone soil water storage is now above average for this time of year over much of the agricultural area, with recent rain increasing coastal soil water along the west coast. 
  • BoM's rainfall outlook for September 2022, indicates mostly neutral chances of exceeding median rain for most of the agricultural area and the southwest may be drier than normal in September. The ECMWF multi-week outlook from 22 August also has a neutral to drier outlook for September rainfall for the southern part of WA. 
  • BoM seasonal rainfall outlook for September to November 2022 indicates mostly below normal rainfall chances over the agricultural area, with moderate accuracy for this period (55 to 65% consistency). The October to December outlooks is similar, but with weaker probabilities for this period. See the BoM’s seasonal outlook video for more details.
  • International climate models are showing neutral rainfall outlooks for the agricultural area and the south west for September to November. 
  • DPIRD’s Statistical Seasonal Forecast (SSF) for August to October 2022, based on July global conditions, has a strong preference for a below normal rainfall for most of the region with medium predictive skill.
  • 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 (BoM) weekly rainfall

Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) forecasts BoM Water and Land

BoM 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 online app 

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