Western Times - - FRONT PAGE - Joshua Macree Joshua.Macree@west­ern­

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.

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