Need more welcome rain
AS a rogue steer trotted past spraying large flecks of mud on his bare legs – cold by his chosen attire of short pants and yellow gumboots – Warwick Saleyard’s head stockman embraced the sensation because the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) predicted it won’t be here by the weekend.
For the past four years Warren Berghofer has been at Warwick Saleyards regardless of the season but he did admit it was a first for his trusty boots which basked in the exposure because, when he posed for the photo, he quipped, “Forget Playboy, this is Play Farmer”.
“The worst day I’ve worked here was when we had to deal with 2600 head of cattle. Weather doesn’t bother me,” Mr Berghofer said.
Spoken like a true farmer, the cocky said he loved rain even when mud had stained his skin a suspicious shade of brown.
Down McEvoy Street, postie Michael Harrison has been delivering Rose City mail for the past two decades and he’s the type of guy who doesn’t mind if beads of rain obscure address lettering.
“It wasn’t bad (yesterday), the worst rain I’ve delivered in was about 15 years ago,” the Australia Post postal delivery officer said.
“The rain was so heavy I couldn’t see and my fingers were blue with cold.”
It may be wet but there are still primary producers across the Southern Downs and Granite Belt battling critical water shortages.
Glengallan farmer Michael Willett said many property dams in the region were still just 10 per cent full and subsoil moisture remained low.
“The fact is we are having a ‘green’ drought, where things might look all right on the surface, but are far from it,” he said. “A lot of dams are very low and there are farmers whose summer crops have failed without enough rain.
“Summer has finished so there is limited opportunity now for good pasture growth and no chance for many crops.”
While he said the past two days of soaking rain had provided a welcome reprieve, more falls were still needed.
A total of eight properties in the Southern Downs region have received official Individual Droughted Property status from the Queensland Government since December.
But Mr Willett said the outlook for many more producers remained grim.
He said the situation was scheduled to be reviewed in April.
The outlook for Southern Downs dam levels is a mixed bag ranging from a mere nine per cent to 100 per cent of capacity.
SunWater data indicates Coolmunda Dam at Inglewood is at nine per cent (current storage 6040ML with capacity of 69,000ML).
This is a dramatic decrease as SunWater storage volume readings indicate Inglewood’s dam hovered just under 50 per cent this time last year, with a huge drop from December to January, easing off to nine per cent capacity at the start of this month.
Warwick’s Leslie Dam is at 10 per cent (current storage 11,000ML with capacity of 106,200ML). This reading has hovered around the same mark for the past 12 months.
A Southern Downs Regional Council spokeswoman said Connolly Dam was at 76.5 per cent, Storm King Dam (Stanthorpe) at 75 per cent, Beehive (Wallangarra) was overflowing at 100 per cent and Soak Dam (Wallangarra) was also at 100 per cent.
BOM senior forecaster Bryan Rolstone said the heavy rain experienced yesterday was set to ease today.
“It’ll more likely be drizzle and showers with afternoon showers for (tomorrow),” he said. “Friday there could be thunderstorms as the sun comes out and warms things up but Sunday should be fine.”
(Official figures from 9am Monday to time of printing last night):
Wilsons Peak: 72mm
The Head: 75mm
Murrays Bridge: 41mm