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Heavy rainfall fails to allay farmers’ fears
Picture: David Bailey Bunbury boy Carter Ridgway, 5, revels in the wet weather at his grandfather Gordon Haigh’s Boyanup beef farm on Tuesday.

The wet start to spring — which has brought more than half of September’s average rainfallinthe month’s first five days — will do little to help farmers battling with a record dry winter.

Bunbury has received more than 40mm of rain this month, which is more than half of the monthly average of 79mm.

The highest daily total this month was 27.2mm in the 24-hours to 9am Tuesday.

Only two days during winter recorded more rainfall.

Those amounts, combined with similar falls across the South West, are expected to have only a slight impact on dam levels.

‘‘There hasn’t been enough to make a major difference to the dams, we could do with a lot more,’’ Water Corporation spokesman Phil Kneebone said.

Harvey Water general manager Jeff Calder said that while the rainfall had been good, it would only make a slight difference.

‘‘It’s very good, there are lots of smiles around. When it rains it’s always a good start to spring— long may it rain,’’ he said.

Mr Calder said the effects of the rain would last for a week or two as less pressure was put on the dam system.

‘‘The showers are good for grass growth, which means the irrigators don’t have to draw on the water in the dams,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s the sort of rain that will lead to run off into the dams, it’s slow and heavy.

‘‘It won’t make a huge difference but it will lead to a higher allocation for irrigators.

‘‘We need to have that really intense long-lasting rain, that’s the stuff that will give you run off.’’

For Harvey dairy farmer Samuel Epiro, the recent falls will not make up for the poor winter rainfall.

‘‘It’s a really good rain event, I think it will all be run off, so it will help the dams. Itis a help for us, but it still won’t be a good year because of the winter,’’ Mr Epiro said.

As a result of the low rainfall, farmers like Mr Epiro experience extra costs to run their farms, and still pay the same rates and charges to use the irrigation system, regardless of whether restrictions are enforced.

‘‘We have to rely on more feed coming in — grain and fodder — and be less reliant on the irrigation,’’ he said.

‘‘It will increase our irrigation allocation a small amount, but we’ve had two years of low allocations, so we’ve experienced it before.’’