Robert Warburton’s hopes are beng cut short by dry drilling conditions

It’s hot and dry and we’re only a few days from the start of winter. At the start of May, most of the state had good opening rains and seeding was well under way. It was one of the earliest breaks to the season in seven years and there was a great deal of optimism about the coming year.

It hasn’t rained since and daytime temperatures are in the mid-20s. Many of the early-sown oilseed rape crops are starting to die and wheat is laying flat in the furrow. There is little optimism about as the outlook for rain is looking unlikely. The dry, hot weather is not only having an effect on the crops, but also on the family.

Conversations after the rain were lively and long, but now they are short, blunt or non-existent. Even the dogs are getting a hard time.

There comes a time when you just get sick of seeding into dry, dusty paddocks in the hope that it will eventually rain. The conversation in your head is continual; should I stop seeding? When will it rain? Maybe the next paddock will have some moisture I can seed in to. During seeding, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own little world. You sometimes forget that everyone else is just getting on with their life, the world is not about to end, the dishes still need washing and the kids need a bedtime story.

If it wasn’t for my family and the normal day-to-day events that greet me when I get home, I think I would have gone mad by now. It doesn’t matter how bad today has been or what lies ahead when my girls give me a big hug when I walk in the door. They make such a difference – all the worries of the world melt away and are no longer important.


Rob Warburton farms 3,000ha with his wife Jen and two daughters in Kojonup, below Perth in Western Australia. Cropping includes wheat, barley and oilseed rape. Wildflower seed is grown for retail. Merino sheep are reared for wool and meat

• Read more artices by Rob Warburton• Read more from our Arable Farmer Focus writers

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