GRA­ZIERS PRAY FOR RAIN­FALL

Dri­est sum­mer since 1924

Central Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - An­drew Thorpe an­drew.thorpe@ news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

CEN­TRAL Queens­land’s gra­ziers are used to look­ing up to the sky and hop­ing for luck.

One week of de­cent rain­fall can mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween sell­ing or keep­ing their cat­tle – or buy­ing weeks worth of feed.

For Wayne and Leonie Price, who recorded 56mm on Satur­day evening at their cat­tle prop­erty Red­crest north of Moura, the down­pour could mean the be­gin­ning of the end of a shock­ing sea­son.

“If we can get some more this next week, it will prob­a­bly do us up un­til April. We can still grow some feed,” Wayne said.

“If it didn’t rain, it was gonna be bloody se­ri­ous.

“It’s de­layed the feed­ing pro­gram for the time be­ing any­how, and hope­fully if we get a bit more rain it might not have to hap­pen.”

The cou­ple run about 500 cat­tle on their prop­erty, though they had to get rid of a siz­able amount just be­fore Christ­mas.

“The last de­cent fall we had was in July when we had three or four inches, but we’ve had bug­ger all since then,” Wayne said.

“We got a cou­ple of inches in Jan­uary, then that heat­wave hit and just scorched it off.”

Leonie took to the pop­u­lar Who Got the Rain? Face­book page to share the news af­ter the 56mm fall, say­ing she was “feel­ing thank­ful”.

“It was just like magic, re­ally,” she said. “Liq­uid gold, they call it. “Let’s just hope it keeps com­ing, let’s hope more peo­ple get it – I’d just like to see wide­spread soak­ing rain.”

The patchy na­ture of the falls so far have meant neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties of­ten re­ceive wildly dif­fer­ent re­sults, with some rain gauges filled to the brim while others get next to noth­ing.

“My un­cle just on that hill over there, he got noth­ing (on Wed­nes­day) af­ter­noon,” Wayne said.

“And when we got the 56mm, he got very lit­tle then. It’s re­ally typ­i­cal El Nino stuff.

“They’re say­ing, ‘Oh yeah we might be about to have (El Nino)’ but I reckon we’ve al­ready had it with what we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced the last six months.”

The un­pre­dictable weather has re­sulted in the Bu­reau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy weather sta­tion at Than­g­ool air­port record­ing its dri­est sum­mer on record since 1924, with 69.8mm recorded across the sea­son.

But it was fol­lowed up on Sun­day by a fall of 43.6mm.

De­spite the good for­tune, Rockhampton Bu­reau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy act­ing of­fice man­ager Benj Blunt said the cli­mate out­look for au­tumn was look­ing much the same as the sum­mer we just ex­pe­ri­enced.

“Cen­tral Queens­land could ex­pect be­low av­er­age rain­fall fore­cast over the next few months,” he said.

“More of the same to con­tinue re­ally. It will rain at some stage, but dry con­di­tions will con­tinue.”

THANK­FUL: Leonie Price recorded 56mm at her Moura prop­erty last week­end. PHOTO: AN­DREW THORPE

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