Rain falls from Bourke to Dubbo, but farmers hope for more

Ray White Rural's Daniel Armitage (left) and Brian McAneney (right), and farmer Cal Hawkins smile in the rain on Sunday. Photo: FAYE WHEELER
Ray White Rural's Daniel Armitage (left) and Brian McAneney (right), and farmer Cal Hawkins smile in the rain on Sunday. Photo: FAYE WHEELER

Rain throughout the Orana region reinforced some confidence in landholders that the “dry” might start easing.

It is reported between 18 and 22mm of rain fell throughout the Wellington district, while the southern side of town only recorded 6-8mm, and reports of 30mm at Spicers Creek.

Dry months hit the region after 115.2mm of rain fell at Wellington in March.

After a winter that offered up little moisture, the situation worsened in September when just 8.8mm of rain fell.

While the Bureau of Meteorology has forecast more rain for later in the week, local agronomist Michael White said it is of little benefit to crops.

"It certainly will help stop the pinching of the grain,” he said. “But obviously it’s too late for a lot of crops because a) they've had sheep eat them off or b) their potential yield has already been determined.”

Stock and station agent, Geoff Plasto, agreed more rain is needed as farmers resort to hand-feeding their stock.

"It's going to reduce the numbers that are coming into the yard because people will believe they'll get feed again,” he said.

“The reason there's been such big numbers at the Dubbo Sale Yards is because there was no feed." 

Ray White Rural director Brian McAneney was on duty at a clearing sale in the Coboco district, north-west of Dubbo, on Sunday.

Rain had been on the wish list of the district’s farmers and graziers for months.

Mr McAneney observed the day of gentle showers had been a welcome change.

“There’s no doubt no one complained about the rain today, it was lovely to see,” he said. “But in saying that, we still need more, 15mm is a nice start, but on its own it’s not going to do anything.”

Mr McAneney reported there was some optimism in the rural sector.

“I spoke to a gentleman today, he had sown some millet and he thought the weather was changing,” he said.

NSW Farmers’ Association regional services manager for West Caron Chester said the rain would be well-received by everyone.

Walgett, Brewarrina and Bourke had gone straight back into drought this year, even after the “one great year of rain in 2016”, she said.

It would hopefully bring a green “pick” for livestock and top up water tanks, she said.