- Landholders: high winds have already lashed much of the Grainbelt this summer – see the DPIRD media statement Take action to protect paddocks from wind erosion, which has links to further articles on soil erosion and land management advice.
- Water supplies: The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) has suspended carting water into the water deficiency declaration areas, and continues to monitor and manage community water supplies.
- Water deficiency declaration information
- Test all livestock water supplies for salt and algae
- Climate situation and outlook
- Livestock situation
- Livestock management
- Livestock health and animal welfare
- Crop situation
- Crop management
- Land and water management
- Climate resources
- Support services directory
We recommend confined paddock feeding when pasture biomass falls below 500kg dry matter per hectare. Confinement feeding has the benefit of more efficient use of supplementary feed, and avoids removing pasture ground cover that protects the soil from erosion.
For the next few months
- Growing weaner sheep
- Grazing stubbles and dry pasture
- Tips for hand feeding sheep
- Management tools and calculators for sheep
- Strategies and tactics for sheep producers in a dry season
- See the Sheep feeding and nutrition web page for a full listing of resources.
Sheep and cattle health and animal welfare
- Condition scoring sheep
- Welfare decisions for sheep and cattle
- A national guide to describing and managing beef cattle in low body condition
- WA livestock disease outlook: a monthly newsletter for producers
- Is your livestock fit to load?: a PDF download (Meat and Livestock Australia)
- Avoid poisoning of livestock by blue-green algae in contaminated water supplies
- Water quality for livestock
- Soil water graphs: for up to date graphs of plant available soil water, and for more infomation on the models behind the maps in either a cropped or fallow paddock. Plant available soil water graphs show the amount of soil water accumulated from the start of summer (1 November) through the grain growing season can be used to support seasonal decisions.
- Plant available soil water maps for fallow are produced from March to June for different soil types using the Ritchie two-layer fallow evaporation model run from the first of November in the previous year.
- Plant available soil water maps for crop are produced from July to October for different soil types using evapotranspiration of a generic wheat crop is estimated using the FAO crop factor method, where the timing of crop germination (break of season) is estimated using a two-part rule.
- Managing wind erosion in crop stubbles
- Windrow burning – tips from the experts
- Grain Industry Association of Western Australia (GIWA) crop reports: choose the crop reports tab and year.
Plan for and invest in reliable on-farm water supplies.
- Farm Water Supply Planning Scheme: The Farm Water Supply Planning Scheme (FWSPS) encourages commercial farmers in dryland agricultural areas to participate in a comprehensive farm water audit process. This audit process provides farmers with an on-farm water supply improvement plan on which to base water management decisions.
The FWSPS provides a rebate up to $1000 towards the cost of a farm water auditor to complete a farm water supply plan.
If you are commercial broadacre farmer who is experiencing water shortages, you are encouraged to apply.
Registered Auditors are listed on the DWER site.
- It is time to maintain roaded catchments and dams. Plan now for new dams and roaded catchments.
- Calculating dam water volume and drawdown by livestock and evaporation
- Water deficiency declaration process: If strategic community water supplies in an area become depleted for livestock, the WA Government can make a Water Deficiency Declaration.
- The local government needs to demonstrate that 5 or more farmers within a 20 kilometre (km) radius have to travel more than 40km to an off-farm source to access suitable water for livestock.
- The local government makes a formal Water Deficiency Declaration request to DWER.
- DWER consults with DPIRD, then makes a recommendation to the Minister for Water.
- After the declaration is made, the state government is required to provide water for livestock needs at a central storage point, within a 40km radius of the farms concerned.
- For more information visit the DWER website.
- Community water supply program (Department of Water and Environmental Regulation): contact Tracy Calvert at email@example.com; 9841 0122 (Albany) or 0428 180 240.
- Strategic community water supplies (Department of Water and Environmental Regulation)
- Reducing wind erosion risk
The National On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme
The National On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme is available to eligible commercial horticultural and livestock farmers and pastoralists in rural WA. Information for applicants also has links to the application forms.
- The rebate is for 25% up to a maximum of $25 000 for the purchase of new water infrastructure, delivery and installation to address animal welfare needs and improve resilience to drought.
- Eligible items include water storage devices, such as tanks and troughs, pipes, fittings and pumps associated with water distribution systems, new bores and the desilting of dams by a contractor.
- Rebates can be applied to costs incurred after 30 June 2018, and applications close 30 April 2021 or when the funding allocation is exhausted, whichever occurs first.
- The National On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme is over-subscribed, and funding allocated to Western Australia by the Commonwealth Government in both 2019-20 and 2020-21 has been fully allocated.
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) will accept new applications for the Scheme in Western Australia, and the applications will be progressed in the order received if additional funding is made available by the Commonwealth.
For more information, visit the DWER National On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme web page or contact DWER’s Rural Water Planning team on 1800 780 300.
See the Seasonal climate outlook newsletter for a full set of situation and forecast information.
For January to March 2021, the DPIRD seasonal forecast is for a neutral (40 to 60%) chance of exceeding median rainfall for the majority of the South West Land Division (SWLD). With higher chances (60 to 80%) for the Central West forecast District, eastern parts of the Central Wheatbelt and along the south coast. The most probable rainfall decile for the Central West District and along the south coast is 8 to 10, and decile 4 to 7 elsewhere in the SWLD.
- Farm water supplies remain low across many areas of the south-west land division.
- Soil-water storage is very low in the central and eastern grainbelt.
- DWER is continuing to survey farm-water use and assessing critical community water.
- Statistical seasonal information web page for rainfall forecasts, soil water maps, potential yield maps, and frost risk maps.
- See the rainfall to date tool for your recording station
- See the last week's rainfall:
- Search for the daily rainfall and other climate records from your local station: Climate data online – Bureau of Meteorology
- See the department's online weather stations map for the latest rainfall information.
- Australian CliMate online app - Climate analysis for decision makers. Question focused analyses for exploration of weather data across Australia. CliMate is also available for iOS and Android devices.
- Windy.com to see animated global weather conditions affecting Western Australia.
A range of Federal and State assistance measures are in place to support farmers and pastoralists experiencing hardship, as a result of seasonal pressures.
The Support Services Directory harnesses a range of financial, water and welling support, as well as links to Regional Counselling Services and 24/7 crisis care.
Western Australia does not have a drought declaration system so no formal declaration needs to be made to access these services.
The Federal Government’s National Drought Policy and National Drought Agreement aims to build resilience to climate variability and dry season pressures, specifically through bolstering risk management practices and enhancing long-term preparedness. See the national On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme.
Note: the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation administers the WA component of the On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme.
SUPPORT SERVICES DIRECTORY
A website that harnesses information about Commonwealth and State/Territory assistance (includes Drought Loans, Farm Investment Loans, Farm Household Allowance)
Assists farming families experiencing financial hardship with income to maintain their household
13 23 16 or 1800 612 004
Low interest loans for businesses to improve the strength, resilience and profitability of their businesses (provided by the Regional Investment Corporation)
1800 875 675
Free financial counselling service to assist primary producers
1800 612 044
Assists farm and pastoral businesses and financial institutions to resolve disputes about business financial arrangements, through a low cost and non-legal form of mediation
1800 198 231
Income support programs for farmers and rural small businesses
13 23 16
Funds for household expenses
Rebates of 25% up to a maximum of $25 000 for the purchase and installation of new water infrastructure and equipment to eligible commercial livestock farmers and pastoralists
1800 780 300
Grants of up to $100 000 available for community water supply development and improvements in dryland agricultural areas receiving <600mm average annual rainfall
1800 780 300
Network of strategic community water supplies in WA dryland agricultural areas to provide emergency stock water
1800 780 300
Emergency water for livestock provided by the State government carted to a central point, coordinated via local shires
1800 780 300
Rebates of up to $1000 for commercial broadacre farmers experiencing water shortages to fund an audit of farm water supply and potential improvements
1800 780 300
24–hour crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health support services
13 11 14
Counselling for individuals, couples and families experiencing challenges to help them cope, improve wellbeing and identify options
Provides support and education services to regional men, communities and health services
9690 2277 (office hours)
Provides information and referrals regarding health, finances, legal matters, counselling and domestic crisis
1800 199 174
Contacts for a range of 24 hour support, financial and family counselling, health, emergency and ancillary services
The Australian Government is inviting local councils via a restricted competitive process to apply to deliver projects under the Communities Combating Pests and Weed Impacts During Drought Program - Biosecurity Management of Pests and Weeds - Round 2 in selected Local Government Areas (LGAs) in 2019 to 2021.
1800 020 283
Contact your local DPIRD office to find out who can help you on any of the topics above.