Farmers watching the skies

08 Jan, 2015 03:00 AM
Good rain has been a key driver of the buoyant prices seen at this week’s weaner sales

IT APPEARS the rain gods have made a New Year’s resolution to be more generous to the parched Australian farmer.

Large tracts of Queensland have received good rain, which has been a key driver of the buoyant prices seen at this week’s Western District weaner sales. Now Victorian farmers are closely watching forecasts in anticipation of a complex weather pattern, which Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecasters are confident will deliver big rainfall tallies somewhere across the state.

However, BOM duty forecaster Peter Newham said by Friday the weather models diverged, and it was difficult to pinpoint exactly where the bulk of the rain would fall.

“The models are promising for some good rainfall, but some have the heavy rain in the north-west and others have it pushing further east.”

Ahead of that, he said Thursday and Friday would see showery conditions with storms embedded.

“On Thursday we are expecting the best totals to fall near and south of the ranges, with the likelihood of all areas getting 5 millimetres grading up to general tallies of 20mm and isolated higher tallies with storms embedded in the front.”

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  • The front is made up of tropical moisture sliding down from the Kimberley region.

    Meanwhile, in Queensland, rainfall in areas like the Maranoa and the Central West has seen rivers start to run. At Winton, the Diamantina River has started running after up to 120mm in its catchment in the past fortnight. In the Maranoa, there have been good falls around Roma, while there was 60mm on Friday at Dirranbandi in the state’s south-west.

    However, in spite of the current flurry of rain, the BOM still has its long-term summer forecast for hotter and drier conditions for much of the country, with climate models hovering near El Nino thresholds.

    Gregor Heard

    Gregor Heard

    is the national grains writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media


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