Season 2022: information for WA farmers

Page last updated: Friday, 16 December 2022 - 7:29am

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

  • Harvest has generally progressed well across the northern and central grainbelt but wet and cool conditions have slowed harvest in southern areas,  with reports of lodging, head loss and expected downgrades in quality.  See Crop Management section. 
  • Populations of mice are still widespread across the grainbelt. 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. 
  • With the wet conditions, management of  ‘green bridge’ from weed and crop regrowth may be required to reduce disease and pest risk in the 2023 season. See Crop Management section.
  • Environmental conditions in southern areas of the grainbelt have been conducive to worm infestations in sheep, and toxicity effects from infected feed. 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 have resulted 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

  • Environmental conditions in southern areas of the grainbelt are conducive to worm (e.g.barber's pole) infestations in sheep, flystrike and potential toxicity effects (annual ryegrass, ergot) from infected feed. See Animal health and welfare resources below.
  • 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 in the southern areas of the grainbelt have slowed harvest and are conducive to lodging, head loss and expected downgrades in quality. See Management resources below for information on wheat grain quality and the 2023 WA Crop sowing guide.
  • GIWA projections at end of November were for a 24 million tonne harvest.
  • 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. To reduce further mouse food availability, harvest as cleanly as possible and use seed destructors if possible. See Mice section  

Management resources

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

  • November rain was near-average or wetter for much of the agricultural area, and notably wetter for the South Coast. Rainfall deciles for April to October indicated seasonal rain was near-average for northern regions, wetter than normal for eastern and southern cropping regions, and much wetter than normal on the South Coast. Spring was cooler than normal, and the mild finish will likely have helped crop and pasture production.
  • The Bureau's rainfall outlook for Janauary 2023, updated 8 December, indicates neutral chances of exceeding median rain for most of WA, but a dry outlook for most of the rangelands.  The ECMWF multi-week rainfall outlook from 12 December has a neutral outlook over southern WA into January. A burst of monsoon rain is expected over northern Australia from mid to late December. See the ECMWF extended range forecast 
  • The Bureau's seasonal rainfall outlook for January to March 2023 is indicating mostly neutral rainfall chances over most of WA: past accuracy of the model is moderate (55 to 65% consistency). There is an emerging drier outlook for much of southern Australia for February to April 2023 (from model run on 8 December). See the seasonal outlook video for more details. 
  • DPIRD’s Statistical Seasonal Forecast (SSF) for December 2022 to February 2023, based on November global conditions, has a drier rainfall outlook for most of the region, with poor to 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 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