A normal to above normal rainfall outlook for the next two months has been issued by the Department of Agriculture and Food for most of the south west of the State, with some regional variation.
The department’s Statistical Seasonal Forecast system indicates normal to drier than normal conditions in the northern wheatbelt, where decile 2-7 rainfall is more likely, and wetter than normal conditions in the high rainfall zone in the southern wheatbelt, where decile 4-9 rainfall is expected.
The predictive skill for the forecasts is medium over the west coast and south west, based on August data, however, there are some areas in the south-east and far north-east where historical predictive skill is regarded as poor.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) seasonal outlook also indicates neutral rainfall probabilities – neither wet nor dry – for the south west of Western Australia over the next three months, based on a medium predictive skill.
The BOM has also forecast warmer than normal maximum and minimum temperatures. The BOM’s predictive skill is medium for maximum temperatures and poor for seasonal minimum temperatures.
Development officer Ben Curtis said while the growing season was almost over in the northern and central regions, there was still potential in the southern region.
“If the wetter than normal forecast for the southern regions is realised soon, it will greatly assist with grain fill and yields,” Mr Curtis said.
“The greatest risk to crops, now they have reached the flowering stage, is frost.”
Growers can visit the SSF webpage on the department’s website to examine the frost risk to their crops.
Department staff have been busy recently attending field days and assessing crops.
Mr Curtis said there was much crop variability between and within the regions.
“There are growers in the wheatbelt who have decent crops in the west, while for those further to the east crop potential is not as great,” he said.
“With the warmer temperatures, weeds – especially grasses – will be prevalent so it’s important to take action early to prevent them from seed set and becoming a greater problem next year.”
Landholders can get a more localised forecast by visiting the department’s website agric.wa.gov.au, searching for ‘seasonal climate information’ and clicking on the black dots on the maps.
For updates and further agronomic advice see the regional AgTactics newsletters, available via the ‘newsletters’ tab on the department’s website.