Strong showers drench South West pastures
The first winter downpour to drench the South West has quenched many dry paddocks and hosed down dairy farmers’ feed concerns, encouraging fodder to sprout.
Rain lashed the South West’s key milk supplying towns for a solid week after a series of cold fronts hit WA on June 7 to provide farmers with eagerly anticipated showers.
Since then, more than 140mm has fallen at Harvey, while a further 120mm has been recorded at Dardandup and nearly 130mm has hit Capel.
Further south, Margaret River and surrounding areas have been splashed with about 220mm and more than 200m wet Northcliffe.
Western Dairy pasture consultant Kirk Reynolds, pictured, said the downpour, the first significant shower since April, would promote pasture growth at dairy operations throughout the region.
“It has been a long and frustrating pause since the rain at Easter germinated things,” he said.
“Everything is actively growing now but the cold weather is kicking in.
“That coldness is normal at this time of the year, yet it might slow growth a bit.”
South West cereal hay prices have reached as high as $380 a tonne this season.
Mr Reynolds said while this month’s rains would alleviate dairy farmers’ stress, it was not the silver bullet amid climbing hay costs.
“It is starting to take some pressure off the farmers but they’re still under a lot of pressure,” he said.
“Margins are tight because grain prices are high.
“Most people have cleaned out their fodder supply, so we’re hoping to make sure we get good winter-spring growing conditions so we can get a surplus.”
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