RELIEF POURS IN ON EAST COAST
DROUGHT-stricken areas of Tasmania’s East Coast could receive their best rain in months today.
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting falls of up to 100mm in parts of the SouthEast as a large low-pressure systems develops.
The whole state has received good rainfall, with most areas expecting good totals for the week.
While the rain has come too late for spring pastures in many areas, it is a welcome relief for farmers suffering a second year of record-low rainfall.
Bruce Dunbabin, who farms near Swansea, said if the forecast rain arrived it would be the best fall since May.
“We had 18mm the other night, which is a good start,” he said. “We’re significantly down on our average rainfall this year and the rain we’ve had has just soaked straight in.”
Mr Dunbabin said most farmers in the region had had to reduce stock numbers as feed supplies became scarce.
“Most of us have destocked, but the good thing about that is the prices have been in our favour,” he said.
Mr Dunbabin is hoping the predicted rain will produce much-needed runoff.
“Stock water has started to become a problem and I’ve had to set up a couple of temporary troughs,” he said.
“Because there’s been no rain the pastures have already dried off, but this should help to freshen things up a bit.”
St Marys farmer Frank Giles said about 30mm of rain fell on his farm on Wednesday and there was more yesterday.
"It was nice to hear it on the roof, especially because it went pretty well all night," he said.
Mr Giles said the past two years on his farm had been the driest in more than a 100 years.
"I've had to sell 90 per cent of my stock, I've only got a few cattle left and a few sheep.”
He has also been forced to spend thousands of dollars on hay to feed remaining stock.
"I don't think we'll get any runoff because it has been so dry for so long, but anything is better than nothing," he said. "We're coming into summer and with a bit of moisture there we might get some grass growing, but it’s too late for a good spring."
Mr Giles said even though the rain was welcome, with a potentially hot and dry summer ahead it would still be a very tough season for many.
“This rain probably won't do much good as far as pastures are concerned because it takes about three months for it to really get going and we’ll be in summer then.
“We could still be feeding until spring next year.”
Campania farmer Brett Stokes said by yesterday morning his farm received about 13mm.
“It’s about six week too late, but at least it will put some moisture back in the ground.
“What we don't want is for it to all come down in one hit because it can do a lot of damage.”
In the North-West, cropping farmer Mike Badcock said the falls had been just about perfect yesterday.