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  • Writer's pictureWayne

It has come in wet. Really wet.

The forecasts have been for a dryish winter, more so in the eastern side of Australia, and us here in Western Australia did have a very dry May. Not a great time to have a dry month since it is seeding, germinating and spraying time for most cropping farmers.

Then June arrived. It has come in very wet for us, and much of southern Australia. It was the wettest June in our short time here on Caluka Farms, Narrikup WA. Below is a rainfall chart as of 7th July 2023.

In May our biggest rainfall was 6mm, and 6 events of 1-1.5mm, until the 30th May when we received 8mm, and that was the start of a long string of wet days. This has continued into July with 5 of the 7 days so far being wet. 276mm from 30th May to 7th July. The paddocks are sodden.

Despite that, and the lack of sunlight and bitterly cold weather (I don't think we got over 13C max for the month), the pastures have actually been slowly growing away from the sheep. Each rotation we are getting 3-5 more days, and this current rotation looks like each mob will get 5-7 days longer in the rotation.

With the very wet start to June, I brought forward a small dose of fertiliser (N, P and S) and then it kept raining. Alot. However, the pastures are responding even though these conditions are not conducive for plants to utilise the fertiliser most efficiently. There's been about 200mm of rain since I spread the fertiliser, so I expected a fair chunk of it might have escaped the plants roots. Water was, and still is, oozing and trickling through the pastures, everywhere. The fertiliser is being useful fortunately, despite the conditions.

With sodden pastures, full dams, and some contour banks that are still here from the previous owner that in summer we were going to be levelling out, has caused one location of severe erosion. Photos below.

We have some lovely soil (beach sand, also called Silver Loam) that has been eroded badly. We have some work ahead of us.

The water was not meant to be running here. A contour bank burst and sent water down the wrong side of the fence.

Bugger is the Australian vernacular for this.

The sheep in the distance are about to be moved. The next photo shows what the paddock was like. I think we might have some wet feet problems in the near future.

Looking back to where the previous photo was taken. Everywhere is wet and oozing. The sheep have just been removed from this paddock.

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