WHERE IT HIT: 100mm deluge promising for Downs farmers
Steady rainfall blanketed areas of the Western Downs for days, dropping up to 100mm over parts of the region leaving lucky famers hopeful for summer crop yields.
Hopeland cotton and corn grower, Greg Bender said it’s great to see enough rainfall in the area to top up water supplies.
“It’s given us a bright outlook for summer crops,” the third-generation farmer said.
“There’s a little bit of security now, we’re definitely sitting better than we were a month ago.”
After recording at least 100mm over 10 days just south of Chinchilla, Mr Bender said the rain has allowed them to cut back on irrigation – although said it wasn’t enough to significantly top up dam levels and water supplies for farmers across the district.
“It’s provided a slight reprieve from dry conditions for a month or so,” Mr Bender said.
About 50km east of Hopeland in Jandowae, sorghum grower Doug Wunsch, said he was devastated after recording only 25mm of rain, leaving him worried there won’t be enough moisture in his soil for his summer crop to take.
“The window is closing for the sorghum crop, at least half a metre to a metre of the soil is dry,” he said.
“It’s so dry, it’s been tragic - rain systems just seem to break above us and go around.”
The 62-year-old who has been farming his whole life, said his 120 hectare crop is struggling and won’t make it out of the ground unless 40-50mm of rain hits his property.
“You listen to the professionals and plant accordingly, spend thousands on a crop, and you get let down again. It’s heartbreaking,” he said.
“I nearly lost 300 acres I planted early in the dry, as the experts were telling us there was good rain on the way.”
Mr Wunsch said he’s not only battling dry conditions, but also a mouse plague, after losing two small paddocks of grain to the invasive pest that’s been causing havoc across the state.
“I’m not confident in when there will be rain next, I’m just going to have to take it day by day and hope for the best.”
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Pieter Claassen said the next opportunity for rain to hit the region will be on Saturday, January 23 - although it’s likely to be heavier on Sunday.
Mr Claassen said recent rainfall had been isolated, and that over a seven day period ending on Saturday, January 9, Chinchilla recorded 40mm, Jandowae 30mm, and Condamine 100mm.