A 'hit and miss' growing season finally breaks in WA's Great Southern
Leah McLennan and Andrew Collins, Fri 19 May 2017
Many farmers in the Great Southern region of West Australia have celebrated the arrival of season breaking rain today, while others in the central Wheatbelt and Northern agricultural areas still await their first decent rain since summer.
Nyabing farmer Scott Crosby, who has several properties spread over 20km, was one of those very happy to see some much needed rain after a patchy start to autumn.
"It's been a hit and miss season," he said.
"The southern properties received a fairly good drop about three weeks ago â¦ our northern properties didn't receive any in that time.
This time it was probably more general across our properties, between 10 to 20 millimetres, depending where you were."
Mr Crosby described this year's season break as a long way from traditional.
"A traditional season break is 25mm over three or four days.
"We're probably not in a traditional break but seeing as its towards the end of May you'd probably say that it's the break of the season."
Enough to create optimism
Much of Southern WA had near record rain over the summer months and Mr Crosby said that rain combined with this patchy break was reason for some optimism.
"We've got great subsoil moisture.so hopefully this will link it up and you know it's a good start to the season.
"But obviously we are still looking for a good follow up rain to cement this down."
"You 've got to be positive as a farmer otherwise you wouldn't be doing it."
Northern ag area still waiting for break
For those in the more Northern agricultural areas, the rain has been scarce since summer and according to the Bureau of Meteorology the weekend might deliver some rain but not a total that could constitute a break.
The BOM's Neil Bennett said the classic season break was still being frustratingly elusive.
"There hasn't been a clear cut really good opening rainfall, that nice soaking heavy rain through the northern agricultural areas.
"I don't think we're going to see that [classic break] in the immediate future seven-day period for the north and eastern Wheatbelt area."
He said parts of the Great Southern could expect more rain this weekend.
"As with the system we've just had â and indeed for the system that we're expecting through later today and into early Sunday morning â it doesn't look like the Central Wheatbelt or the Central West will see too much out of this, they'll see falls but it might just be in the region of two to five millimetres."
However, he said a positive change in the weather pattern was on its way.
"There is a little bit of activity as we move into the middle part of next week, but it's quite a weak front.
"That looks as if it's going to work its way up again towards the South West.â some lighter falls but essentially on stream flow as we call it, which is westerly, so there is a sign now that there's a change in the pattern."
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