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AustralianFarmers

Rain, rain, glorious rain

Rainfall across many drought-affected farming regions over the past week has replenished soil profiles, dams and hearts and set many farmers up for a productive autumn.

Moisture from the Tasman Sea, helped spark the rainfall event which began in Queensland and worked it’s way down.

National Farmers’ Federation President and Liverpool Plains farmer Fiona Simson said the wet weather had changed the fortunes of many.

“To put the falls into perspective, communities on the Darling Downs of Queensland and in central and northern NSW received almost as much rainfall in the past week, as they did throughout the whole of 2019.

“The rain now is also ideal for the growth of winter crops and pasture during the autumn months.”

Ms Simson said unfortunately, as was often the case with storms, some farmers had missed out.

“There are situations where a farm has received great rainfall while a neighbour has missed out.

“We all have our fingers crossed, that the continuing thunderstorm activity will reach these areas.”

Last Saturday, Goonburra, in southern Queensland recorded up to 83mm in just one hour while over 100mm was recorded in Oakey.  The Western Downs enjoyed over 100mm worth of rain, while Warwick received a drenching, enjoying over 80mm in an hour on Sunday.

There were heavy falls through the Darling Downs with some areas receiving over 100mm, causing flash flooding and riverine flooding in the region.

Further south, Grafton received another drenching, recording over 200 mm over three days while Dorrigo received over 150mm on the weekend.

Tamworth has received 66mm in the past three days, with 55.6mm of that falling on Sunday. 50mm fell on Armidale while Condobolin enjoyed 48mm worth of rain. Later in the week parched areas if southern NSW, including the Monaro, also received a soaking.

NSW Farmers’ President James Jackson said that whilst the rain has lifted the spirits of some drought and bushfire-stricken farming communities, the financial benefits will not be seen for many months.

“It is generally too late for summer crop prospects, but there may be some opportunities for late sorghum and maize forage crop plantings. Grain growers will be keeping a close eye on soil moisture profiles for winter cereal crops, so any real income generation is still many months away.”

Ms Simson agreed:

“For many, this rainfall event does turn the focus to the recovery, but we can’t overstate enough how long the recovery process will be.

“Many farmers have not had a viable crop for a number of seasons and livestock producers have significantly, if not entirely, destocked.

“Financially farmers are up against it. Rain does not amount to immediate cash flow. Crops need many months to mature, herds need to be rebuilt.

“Drought assistance measures from State and the Federal Government, such as Commonwealth’s Farm Household Allowance, will continue to play a role in helping families meet their everyday living expenses,” Ms Simson said.

Ex-tropical Cyclone Uesi is forecast to deliver moderate to light rainfall down the east coast until at least Monday.

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