Banana Shire graziers at the mercy of unpredictable weather
BANANA Shire's graziers are used to looking up to the sky and hoping for luck.
One week of decent rainfall can mean the difference between selling or keeping their cattle - or buying weeks worth of feed.
For Wayne and Leonie Price, who recorded 56mm on Saturday evening at their cattle property Redcrest north of Moura, the downpour could mean the beginning of the end of a shocking season.
"If we can get some more this next week, it will probably do us up until April. We can still grow some feed," Wayne said.
"If it didn't rain, it was gonna be bloody serious.
"It's delayed the feeding program for the time being anyhow, and hopefully if we get a bit more rain it might not have to happen."
The couple run about 500 head of cattle on their property, though they had to get rid of a sizable amount just before Christmas.
"The last decent fall we had was in July when we had three or four inches, but we've had bugger all since then," Wayne said.
"We got a couple of inches in January, then that heatwave hit and just scorched it off."
Leonie took to the popular 'Who Got the Rain?' Facebook page to share the news after the 56mm fall, saying she was "feeling thankful".
"It was just like magic, really," she said.
"Liquid gold, they call it.
"Let's just hope it keeps coming, let's hope more people get it - I'd just like to see widespread soaking rain."
The patchy nature of the falls so far have meant neighbouring properties often receive wildly different results, with some rain gauges filled to the brim while others get next to nothing.
"My uncle just on that hill over there, he got nothing yesterday afternoon," Wayne said, talking about Wednesday when Redcrest received 15mm.
"And when we got the 56mm, he got very little then. It's really typical El Nino stuff.
"They're saying, 'Oh yeah we might be about to have (El Nino),' but I reckon we've already had it with what we've experienced the last six months."
The unpredictable weather resulted in the Bureau of Meteorology weather station at Thangool airport recording its driest summer on record since 1924, with 69.8mm recorded across the season.
But it was followed up on Sunday March 5 by a fall of 43.6mm.
Despite the good fortune, Rockhampton Bureau of Meteorology acting office manager Benj Blunt said the climate outlook for autumn was looking much the same as the summer we just experienced.
"Central Queensland could expect below average rainfall forecast over the next few months," he said.
"More of the same to continue really. It will rain at some stage, but dry conditions will continue."