REGION ROASTS IN JAN
DESPITE rain across the southwest on the weekend, the region has left behind one of the hottest Januarys on record, with some towns recording little to no rainfall for the month.
The lack of rain has placed varying levels of strain on agriculture across the region.
In the Maranoa, Roma received zero rainfall, which was an all-time record, smashing the previous mark of 1.3mm.
Surat didn’t fare much better, recording a measly 0.6mm.
Injune grazier Rob Loughnan was bullish about the lack of rainfall in January and said heavy rain on the weekend was a timely relief.
“I had 192 points of rain, which equates to 48mm, over the weekend, which will do a world of good,” he said.
“I wasn’t too nervous about the lack of rainfall, you just roll with blows.
“The rain will now hopefully get things moving again. I’ve got a crop of the fodder tree leucaena that will hopefully benefit from the recent downpour.
“It’s started to fill in some gaps and I think most people can see it’s not going to be a long summer drought and hopefully we can get some rain out west also.”
Further west in Cunnamulla the situation is becoming more dire, with only 3.2mm of rain recorded in January, just 7 per cent of the monthly average.
The lack of rain is putting strain on agriculture in the region, which has included Cunnamulla irrigator Don Dunsdon, who has become accustomed to disappointment when bureau forecasts haven’t come to fruition.
“It sort of teases you, the promises of rainfall, and then all the predictions disappear the closer you get to them,” he said.
“It’s getting critical here, it just won’t rain.
“After a while it becomes relentless and the heat is affecting stock and puts everyone on edge.
“Heat-wise, this summer has been very similar to the last but at least in 2016 we received some spring rain, which we simply didn’t get towards the end of last year.
“I’m still optimistic that we will get some rain before March, so we have to hang onto stock before we make another call.”
The Balonne has faced similar severe rainfall shortages, recording only 4mm in January, which is 8 per cent of the annual January average.
The region has sweltered through a particularly hot month, with temperatures 3.2 degrees above average.
WELCOME SIGHT: Storms approach the Charleville Showgrounds.