8 thoughts on “West Australian farmers feel excluded from Federal Government’s drought discussions – bizarre attitude in summer so soon after record harvest”

  1. Leaving aside whether governments (in fact taxpayers) should subsidize a generally affluent sector of society, over longer periods wheat yields aren’t well correlated with rainfall. In the Western Australian wheatbelt where rainfall has declined significantly since the 1970s, yields have approximately doubled over the same period.

    Page 18

    archive.agric.wa.gov.au/objtwr/imported_assets/content/lwe/cli/climate21_session1_foster_farre_asseng_.pdf

    Possibly due to more drought tolerant varieties.

  2. If you look at SW WA rain history here you see a marked lower level post 1970 –
    reg.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=rain&area=swaus&season=0112&ave_yr=0
    that is not new. But that is the rain regime SW WA ag operates in – my point being that all BoM online stats – maps or charts take the long term average into account when calculating anomalies – so averages are higher due those high rain pre-1970 years – which we do not get post 1970.
    So SW WA rain is downplayed and in effect gets a bad press.
    If I was a SW WA farmer I would only calculate anomalies on post 1970 data because that is the rain regime we are in.
    Agree that improved farming, better grain vars, better weed suppressing chemicals, incr CO2 – all acting to offset decreasing rain.

  3. It seems to me a very odd title for the ABM to use … the words ‘rainfall deficiencies’.
    A deficiency is an insufficient amount of something. If I feel sluggish and tired all day, you might say I have an iron deficiency, meaning I’m not eating enough iron.
    I don’t believe this is a particularly useful title because it is unclear what a rainfall deficiency is. Is it rainfall that wont support the current agriculture? – over most of the coloured areas agriculture is ‘marginal’ cattle or sheep grazing at best.

  4. During the seventies as a stock agent in the SW, bulldozers, balls and chains were busy, and mallee roots by the million swept in to Perth for fires to keep warm, me amongst them, or two to three truckloads of green mill ends from any of dozens of timber mills. Clearing of rural land continued in earnest. Governments rewarded land clearers with freehold land. Some droughts hit really badly, I often traveled from safe Margaret River to Harvey climates, to scattered eastern Wheatbelt saleyards to buy thousands of starving sheep. Drainage swales turned to salt and clearing was slowed to stopped more recently. Farmers were the most resourceful people I know. It’s no wonder they had record crops with light rainfall.
    WA Research reached new heights though this week, reading is believing, Flintstone Science from Murdoch Uni, in Nature?: pindanpost.com/2014/02/18/fred-and-barney-to-blame/

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