GREENER PASTURES: Kylie Graham’s Farnham cattle property 43km east of Taroom in February after some heavy periods of rain.
GREENER PASTURES: Kylie Graham’s Farnham cattle property 43km east of Taroom in February after some heavy periods of rain.

Heavens set to burst across the country for farmers

THE prospect of a winter deluge has farmers keeping an eye on the Central Queensland skies, with significant rain predicted to fall in the cooler months.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) quarterly climate outlook for June-August forecasts the winter months to have a high chance of above-average rainfall.

Situated 43 kilometres east of Taroom on a her cattle property Farnham, Kylie Graham said that while the predicted rainfall in the coming winter months is appreciated, but the ideal time for rainfall is either side of the winter months for her as that’s when buffel grass grows best.

“It’s useful but the late summer rain sets us up for that feed that we need to carry us through winter,” Mrs Graham said.

“Because we are all buffel grass predominantly and if we get winter rain it'll cause the buffet to shoot up.

“If we get frost on top of that soon after during the winter it will set it back again so the buffet will come and go depending on how warm the weather is around the rain.

“It’s more the herbages and the clover that will grow, not that we have a great deal here, it grows different grass that can be helpful and edible for cattle.”

The BOM outlook report says that a warmer than average eastern Indian Ocean is currently the main influence on Australia’s climate, increasing the moisture available to weather systems as they sweep across the country.

45 kilometres out of Taroom, all grazing cattle property owner Robert Letbridge said he has a fair bit of frost free grazing country and that will grow grass during winter if it’s a wet one.

“Winter rain for the oates growers and the farming fraternity helps, its just we don’t do that,” Mr Letbridge said.

“Winter is normally drier so we bank grass in summer to get us through a winter.

Even with rain we don’t get big grass growth in winter and it's nothing near the amount you get in summer.

“With increased winter rainfall we may look at not having to lower head numbers and keep the cattle on a little longer.”

Mrs Graham said that small amounts of winter rain can be harmful because it damages the strand of buffet you have.

“If you have the right amount of rain and right whether it can set you up for spring because it gives you subsoil moisture,” Mrs Graham said.

“When it does warm up, the buffet will respond quicker like when it gets warmer in spring.

“If you had that winter rain you can plan more for the rest of the year knowing you have that subsoil moisture.

“It may influence whether we sell or keep certain lines of cattle and you have more of a gauge on how the year will shape up for you.”

The Farnham owner added that through May and June they do the pregnancy tests on their females and if the rain comes in June it will affect sale prices at the feedlot.

“That’s a benefit because people that do get the rain will get the confidence to buy and that can help the market along,” Mrs Graham said.

“You never say no to rain because it helps subsoil moisture levels.

“You have to be thankful for when you get the rain and hope you get it in those important times when you need it either side of winter.

“I often think in those wet years it all evens out in the long run with the dry ones.”

The Banana Shire Council catchment has been drought declared since May 2019.