Latest updates and advice
- Fire season has been challenging for many and is expected to be longer, hotter and drier than usual. Planning allows you to be prepared for an emergency – see Fire season resources.
- Livestock management has information to assist decision-making in challenging seasonal and industry conditions.
- For support services available to help people in rural WA areas, find the assistance at WA's rural support services webpage and directory or check out this guided search to see if you may be eligible for any grants, funding and support programs from across government.
- Pastoralists can refer to Dealing with a dry year in the southern rangelands of WA for information and management resources.
- The climate outlook for March to May 2024 is neutral showing no consitent wet or dry signal. See the Bureau’s seasonal outlook video for details.
- Dry season resources are available for those that experienced a dry 2023.
- Sheep producers impacted by the challenging seasonal and industry conditions are encouraged to plan and consider options to manage flock condition and capture market opportunities. Refer to Strategies and tactics for sheep producers in a poor season and Guide for livestock management decisions over summer and autumn 2023-24.
- Pastoralists can refer to Dealing with a dry year in the southern rangelands of Western Australia for resources to support them in a very dry year, including decisions to hold or sell breeding cattle.
- Supplementary feeding is important to maintain adequate condition score of sheep held on farm and may be required earlier than normal this season with Food On Offer (FOO) fast declining with confined feeding an option.
- Feed cost calculator
- Managing sheep in a poor season
- Sheep feeding and nutrition
- Management tools and calculators for sheep and grazing management
- Supplementary feeding calculator for pregnant and lactating ewes
- Growing weaner sheep
- Grazing stubbles and dry pastures
- Animal welfare - resources and publications
- Humane destruction of sheep and cattle
- Water quality for livestock
- Livestock water requirements and water budgeting for south-west Western Australia
- Lupinosis in sheep
- Emergency Animal Disease Hub
- A national guide to describing and managing beef cattle in low body condition (Meat & Livestock Australia)
- Managing flystrike in sheep
Consider the resources below for 2024 growing season planning:
- 2024 WA Crop sowing guide
- Sourcing seed for seeding
- Dry season resources
- Deep ripping fact sheet (GRDC)
- PestFacts WA e-newsletter has the latest pest and disease activity in WA and how to identify and manage them which complements the PestFacts WA map, reported through the PestFacts WA Reporter app.
Soil erosion risk is high in areas with low groundcover from poor crops impacted by a very dry growing season. Managing existing groundcover will be important to prevent wind erosion over summer and autumn.
- Stubble remaining after harvest will be approx. 1.5 to 2 times that of grain yield.
- 1.5 tonne of stubble is the equivalent of 50% ground cover. This could include last years growing season stubble if retained.
- Paddocks with ground cover less than 50% should have no or little traffic from livestock or vehicles.
- Hold off on deep soil mixing, it should be carried out when the soil is moist to reduce the risk of soil erosion
- Diagnosing wind erosion risk
- Managing wind erosion in south-western Australia
- Managing stubble for wind erosion control
- Grains Convo Podcast: Protecting WA soils against wind erosion
Farm water supplies are inadequate in a few areas of the grainbelt, particularly around Grass Patch and Salmon Gums. Salmon gums has been declared water deficient again in December 2023 only 17 months since the revocation of the previous deficiency in 2022. It is important to 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.
- Plan now for maintenance of dams and roaded catchments.
The fire season began early due to dry, warm conditions. Visit Department of Fire and Emergency Services’- Prepare Warnings & Incidents, Recovery for resources on preparing for a fire. Refer to Farm recovery after fire if your property has been affected by fire.
- Livestock management and planning for fire
- Livestock carcase disposal after fire, flood or drought
- Preparing for animal welfare before emergencies
Rainfall outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology for March to May 2024 is neutral for much of WA, meaning there is no consistent wet or dry signal over the season. See seasonal outlook video for more details.
- The El Niño event in the Pacific Ocean is waning, although it likely to persist until May 2024. The Indian Ocean Dipole event has finished, with neutral conditions in the tropical Indian Ocean.
- International climate models are showing below-normal rainfall outlooks for northern WA and down the west coast for March to May 2024, from their February run. This implies an early end to the northern wet season and lingering drier than normal conditions for the south west.
- Autumn continues the pattern of above normal temperatures, with chances of unusually high daytime temperatures being elevated in most parts.
- DPIRD Seasonal climate outlook
- DPIRD online weather stations map
- Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) weekly rainfall:
- Bureau of Meteorology: Water and land
- Climate data online (BoM daily rainfall and other local climate records)
- Australian CliMate app
- Animated global weather conditions affecting WA
Information on support services is available to assist rural people of WA in stressful situations on the WA's rural support services webpage and directory, including Regional Men’s Health Initiative, Rural Aid and the Rural West financial counselling service.
Some grants, funding and support programs may be availabe depending on your circumstances, check out this guided search to see what is available across government.