Feed warning for producers despite storms

Zach RelphCountryman
Cattle farmer Jim Quilty received 77mm at his Elgin property.
Camera IconCattle farmer Jim Quilty received 77mm at his Elgin property. Credit: Jon Gellweiler

South West farmers are welcoming long-awaited downpours showering paddocks, ending the region’s parched season start.

Since last Friday livestock producers and grain producers in the State’s south have danced in the rain, with much-needed storms sprawling across the agricultural area.

Cattle producer Jim Quilty enjoyed 77mm at his Elgin property at the weekend after strong wind and heavy rainfall blasted Bunbury and surrounding towns.

Mr Quilty said the rain would be fruitful in promoting feed and fodder growth amid increasing hay prices.

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“The rain was very good — the paddocks are starting to look good,” he said.

“It has come just in time because many farmers’ hay stocks were starting to look very tight and hay is very expensive at the moment.”

Dairy district Northcliffe was among the major rainfall beneficiaries, receiving more than 140mm from Friday last week to when Countryman went to print on Tuesday.

At Dardanup, more than 103mm fell from last Friday to Tuesday, while about 100mm was poured out of rain gauges near Harvey.

As farmers rejoiced, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development veterinary officer Danny Roberts warned the rainfall relief could be delayed.

He said while the rainfall would promote feed growth, the State’s pastures would not be sufficient to provide adequate nutrition for livestock for up to eight weeks.

“Pastures need to have at least 800kg of food on offer per hectare, at which point the sheep become disinterested in supplementary feed,” he said.

“This means producers in the northern and central grainbelt will need to maintain supplementary feeding for an estimated 40 days.

“Those in the southern agricultural region, where solar radiation is lower, will need to wait about 80 days.”

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