Ross Watson Agriculture provides pasture improvement and management advice throughout eastern Australia. Key areas of influence are the Hunter Region of NSW, Northern, Central and Southern Slopes, Tablelands and the coastal areas of NSW.

Agronomy Consulting

We will assist you to develop, plan and implement a comprehensive pasture development and management program for your farm .

Our point of difference is that we combine over 30 years of leading pasture agronomy knowledge with

30 years of practical, hands-on pasture establishment and management experience.

Improve Farm Productivity

Ross Watson is well recognised and respected within the agronomy service industry,  for his broad knowledge and practical experience in all areas of pasture establishment and management.

He will work with you on a “one-on-one” basis to develop a sustainable pasture improvement and management program , which contributes to improved farm profitability.

Farm Contracting

We are the leading Farm Contracting Service in the Upper Hunter region of NSW. We operate a modern, well maintained fleet of tractors and farm machinery to complete all operations required in pasture management and pasture establishment. Our professional and experienced Farm Services Division are regularly engaged to develop and implement all stages of property development and pasture improvement.



We are focused on providing independent, experienced and professional pasture agronomy advice.

Ross Watson Agriculture provides pasture advice throughout eastern Australia. Key areas of influence are the Hunter Region of NSW, Northern, Central and Southern Slopes, Tablelands and the coastal areas of NSW. We provide quality advice on all temperate and tropical pastures as well as lucerne, forage crops and forage herbs. We do consult in other areas of Australia, as well as overseas.

We have more than 30 years professional and practical experience in all aspects of whole farm pasture development and planning, as well as pasture establishment and pasture management techniques. Our pasture advisory services primarily focus on servicing equine, beef, dairy and sheep enterprises, along with whole farm planning.

There are very few agronomy services in Australia with the breadth of pasture skills and experience of Ross Watson Agriculture. We are recognised leaders in pasture improvement technology. If you are serious about making your property and farm business stand out from the crowd, you have come to the right place!

Our Agronomy Consulting and Farm Services team has over 40 years of combined experience and expertise in whole farm pasture development and establishment. We are even available to carry out complete farm appraisals before selling or purchasing a property. You can have complete confidence in our pasture development plans and advice.

Take a look around our site and see the full range of services we currently provide to our clients.

If you have questions please contact Ross Watson direct on 0428 658 704.

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Looking at my detailed tables attached, it is very clear that drought periods of 12, 18 and 24 months have been a regular feature of our climate history and cycles. This is not some new climate phenomena and similar events have been occurring over the last 100 plus years. Yes 2017 to 2019 will be written into the drought history pages, like the others before it.
I have looked at the rainfall data for Scone to determine the DRIEST 12 months, 18 month and 24 month periods prior to 30 September, in any year , from 1874 to 2019, to see if it can provide some indication of the possible rainfall scenarios for the coming Oct-Dec period, that everyone is hanging on to for rain.
The TOP 5 DRIEST years, for 12 months, 18 months and 24 months prior to September are presented. All the well-known “DROUGHT CULPRITS” show up throughout this list. Yes, periods in this drought from Oct 2016 to Sept 2019, make several appearances in this drought show!
Looking through the Tables, (which you will need to study), you will see that we did get some decent rain events in these following 3 months. The long-term average for Scone in October to December is 184 mm.
These very dry periods have tended to see from a low of 117 to a high of 290 mm and an average of 192 mm. In fact, in most of these years they saw around average rainfall, which is well above what we have been seeing!
The Federation Drought period of 1st Oct 1900 -30th Sept 1902 shows up to have a 2 year drought rainfall pattern and amount very similar to 1st Oct 2017-30 Sept 2019 !!!!.
Most other drought periods in this list tended to follow very similar patterns. See our Maps. Rainfall amounts and distribution look amazingly similar.
So maybe the rainfall received in the 1st Oct to 31 Dec period in 1900-1902 might also be a guide to what might occur in Oct-Dec 2019???
The NSW rainfall map from Oct to Dec 1902, following the drought of Oct 1900-Sept 1902 shows good rainfall, possible areas of flooding in coastal areas with around average rainfall for inland and nearby ranges including the Hunter. Will it do the same?
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This drought continues to break many long term rainfall records!
The last 6 months, April to September 2019, with ONLY 61 mm of rain, is now the driest 6 month period ever recorded and the driest April-September period in over 145 years (1874 to 2019) of climate records at Scone !
I have looked back through Scone`s climate records to find the TOP 20- Driest 6 month periods. They are presented and ranked in the Table below.
When you look at my table some interesting observations can be made. They are
• Very dry 6 month periods are a relatively common event, which you need to consider in your planning.
• These 6 month periods are just part of our natural climate cycle.
• These dry 6 month periods are NOT some new “Climate Change” phenomena, as you will see many similar events have regularly occurred throughout the last 145 years.
• The incidence of these dry 6 months is evenly divided over this period. In the first 72 years of this period there were 9 events, while in the last 73 years there were 11 events.
• The combination of low April-Sept rainfall in 2017+2018+2019 has made this drought severe.
• Interestingly, 80% of these extremely dry 6 month periods, occur in the autumn to early spring period eg March to August /April to Sept or May to October.
• The highest risk period for low 6 month rainfall is in fact April to September, as has been the case in 2017+2018+2019. Low April-Sept rainfall is a common occurrence.
• Only 10% of these TOP 20 driest 6 months occurred in January to June or June to November. Other 6 month period did not display consistently low rainfall.
• The good news out of all this is, maybe we might have gone through the worst with this very dry April-September. Based on previous events, the chances of moderate to good rainfall in late spring-summer , after a very dry April-Sept is reasonably good.
• To try to end on a positive note, yes, this drought is breaking new records, and remember “all records are rarely broken by much”.
• “In every perfectly sunny day, there is a storm hiding, and in every rain storm lies a drought waiting its turn. Up and down and the unexpected, are the norms of nature.” Dr Wayne Dyer.
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This is why I love subtropical grasses! They "laugh at droughts", they convert big or small falls of rain into quality feed like few other pasture species and they will be there for the long haul , good or bad seasons!! They are your "true friend"! This drought impacted dryland pasture has been well managed and has transformed to this nice new feed, with only 2 falls of 15 mm over about 5 weeks.
When we get through this drought, which we will do together, give us a call about getting a planned program going, to get more of these type of pastures into your farm.
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I would like you to remember our 6P's Rule. "Prior & Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Pastures" !
Nice even strike and weed free. I say that 80 % of your pasture or crop establishment is determined before sowing !!!!
You will recall we posted back on 22 & 30 July our preparation and precision sowing program for our client near Scone , establishing 100 acres of new Lucerne. These are pictures of this new stand establishing this week .Very pleasing result , with warm dry weather since sowing and limited irrigation.
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What RAIN can we expect in the next 4 months ?
A dominant feature of this 2017 to 2019 drought so far has been the consistently low April to August rainfall in these 3 consecutive years. This is something that has not occurred before in the last 144 years of recorded weather data for Scone.
2019 with only 51 mm is our 3rd consecutive year of well below average April to August rainfall, which followed 2017 with only 66mm and 2018 with only 58 mm for their respective April to August periods. The last 3 years have certainly been up there for low winter rainfall.
The April to August rainfall in 2019 of 51 mm has been the 3rd driest on record for Scone, 2018 was the 5th driest and 2017 was the 8th driest.
The two driest April to August periods were 1982 with only 38 mm, and 1888 with only 48mm.
Interestingly, Scone has suffered very dry winters before, over 130 years ago in 1888, which also was very bad drought year with only 256 mm for the entire year.
Presented in my attached graph is the 10 Driest April to August period since 1875!!
Our 10 driest April to August periods varied from 38mm in 1982 to 99 mm in 1994. Our driest April to August periods all recorded less than 100 mm in total, with the most of the very dry ones less than 50-60 mm. Our long term average for April to August is 207 mm. With ONLY 51 mm this year we have only seen around 25% of our long term rainfall for that period.
The graph is sorted from the driest April to August in 1982 to the 10th Driest in 1994.
Attached to each April-August rainfall amounts is the subsequent September to December rainfall amounts in mm of the same year. 2019 is sitting at 3rd driest April to August and waiting to see what it will do from here !

The 3 consecutive dry winters and low rainfall summers from 2017, 2018 & 2019 has made this drought unique when compared to other droughts. This drought has a mind of its own at present.
When you look at the Sept-Dec rainfall that was recorded after each of these very dry winters , we see there is NO pattern. The only pattern is, that we do get rain, which is pleasing, given recent rainfall patterns.
We have recorded in the 4 months, Sept to Dec, following these dry winters a minimum of 111mm in 2017 to a maximum of 406 mm in 1970. The average of these dry years is 188 mm. Even the driest 6 years which received less than around 60mm in the autumn-winter period saw anything from 100mm to 400mm in the following Sept-Dec period. Our long term average rainfall for Sept to Dec is 227 mm. These very dry April-August years, as a group, tended to receive a little less than the long term average rainfall for Sept-Dec, with still a respectable 188 mm.
Another encouraging fact I found in this data analysis, 50% of the Sept to Dec periods after the dry April to August periods experienced 2 of the 4 month period with more than 50 mm per month. There were 3 individual years with only 1 month receiving or exceeding 50mm in a month. However, one year, 1970 we experienced all 4 months in excess of 50mm. Only 2017 had no months exceeding 50mm. Based on this data, there is a moderately good chance that we will see at least 1 month and possibly 2 months with 50mm or more in the next 4 months.
Remember, if history is a guide to us, we have always receive rain after these very dry winters, with a low of around 100 mm to a high of 400mm and an average close to 180-200mm .
Just for interest, I have put in my estimate for total rainfall from Sept to Dec 2019, using the blue hatched column. I will leave it up to you to decide what you think might occur.
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