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.
- Pastoralists can refer to Dealing with a dry year in the southern rangelands of WA for information and management resources.
- The climate outlook for January to March 2024 is indicating below normal rainfall is more likely over most of WA. 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.
- 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 or new 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
The outlook for January to March 2024 is indicating below normal rainfall is more likely over most of WA, see Bureau of Meteorology's seasonal rainfall outlook. The outlook continues the prediction of higher atmospheric pressure over Australia. See the Bureau’s seasonal outlook video for more details.
- International climate models are currently showing below-normal rainfall outlooks for WA for January to March 2024.
- Summer is likely to be much warmer than normal. Chances of unusually high daytime temperatures are up to 4 times higher than normal for most of western and central WA for January to March 2024.
- 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.