Season 2022: information for WA farmers

Page last updated: Tuesday, 17 May 2022 - 10:11am

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

  • 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.

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 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.

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 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.
Resources

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Livestock management

Current situation

  • 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 midlate 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.

Management resources

Animal health and welfare resources

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Crop management

Current situation

  • 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.

Management resources

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Land and water management

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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 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.

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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

  • 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.
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