Farmers desperate for rain
Andrew Borthwick in one of his dry paddocks. Picture: Bill Hatto, The West Australian

Narrogin grain and sheep farmer Andrew Borthwick has woken to more frosty mornings this month than he cares to remember.

Rainfall figures are well down on his 1290ha farm and temperatures have plummeted, coating his canola, oat, wheat and barley crop with regular frost.

"Things aren't desperate . . . but if we don't have decent rain in two weeks time then things are going to fall away," Mr Borthwick said.

"We could easily finish up with the worst year we've ever had."

Narrogin's long-term rainfall average for July is 87.7mm but it has received just 5.2mm this month.

Dry July is being played out across most of the Wheatbelt.

Seasonal forecasts indicate a high probability of below median rainfall for the rest of the winter.

Further north, Cunderdin has had 4.2mm this month, well below its 62.8mm average, Wongan Hills has received 14.6mm compared with its average 69.9mm and Dalwallinu has had 14mm, well below its 60.1mm average.

Department of Agriculture and Food grains industry director David Bowran said that below zero temperatures in the central agricultural region had reduced pasture growth, with rain and warmer temperatures required to stimulate production.

"The south coast has been the only area which has received reasonable falls during July," Dr Bowran said.

WA Farmers Federation grain section president Kim Simpson said that if the season had a dry finish yields would be well below average.

The West Australian

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