Rain a boost to crop hopes in Albany zone in latest GIWA crop report

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Woogenellup farmer Mark Adams near a flooded road after recent rains. Pic: Laurie Benson
Camera IconWoogenellup farmer Mark Adams near a flooded road after recent rains. Pic: Laurie Benson Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

It has been a “brilliant start” to the season for WA croppers, according to the Grain Industry Association of WA May crop report.

Widespread recent rainfall across the Albany zone came at the perfect time for farmers, falling on newly seeded crops and wetting soil which will soon be seeded.

The May report estimates there will be 1.68 million hectares of crop sown in the Albany area for this season in WA’s predicted record-breaking 8.61 million hectares.

With canola prices tipping $800 per tonne, WA has capitalised and planted a record canola crop.

Crop report author Michael Lamond said most of the Albany zone had enjoyed considerable rainfall to get their crops off to a good start.

“It is time for masks and snorkels (in the Albany South) after three previous dry seasons,” he said.

“Most growers have had to stop due to trafficability issues and are now reassessing.

“The Albany West zone does not need any further rainfall at present, with issues already resulting from the cumulative 200 to 250mm received to date.

“It is looking to be a good season, where the mid-late April rains delivered between 70 and 100mm.

“Compared to other regions, the Albany East area had not been quite as wet until the rain over this week. Most of the region has had 30-50mm in the last week which is perfect timing.”

The Bureau of Meteorology had predicted that May to July rainfall will be above average for the southern half of Australia.

Mr Lamond said much of the early-sown canola is now up out of the ground.

“This year, there is a bit more canola around with an extra 5-10 per cent going in (in the Albany South),” he said.

“(In the Albany East), this season is seeing the largest amount of hybrid TT varieties ever seeded, and overall canola is up 20 per cent in rotations at the expense of lupins and barley. “Canola plant establishment is very good and hybrid canola growers are being more proactive in maintenance when looking at the ballpark $800 per tonne prices.”

However, with crops coming out of the ground earlier, Mr Lamond said frost loomed as a threat later in the season.

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