Feature

Cyclone drenching would be welcome

NO RAIN: Darren Jensen is waiting for his rain gauge to fill up.
NO RAIN: Darren Jensen is waiting for his rain gauge to fill up. Vanessa Jarrett

AS THE cyclone loomed earlier in the week, Darren Jensen was praying and hoping to get some rain from it.

Darren owns a cropping and cattle property outside of Biloela and has seen very little rain - not just recently but for months.

"We have had 42mm for the whole of summer and for autumn we have had 20mm,” Darren said.

"Normally we would expect 400mm for summer.”

The wet weather hasn't been completely missing the property, with the storms hitting the house last Friday.

"Not a drop of rain but it took half our roof off so we have had to tarp it,” he said.

Even Darren's neighbours have been getting more rain than him.

"It has just been scattered. We are getting the least amount anywhere,” Darren said.

"The rain seems to follow the same pattern from the start of the season. If you don't get any rain at the beginning of the season, you won't for the rest.

"Only 5km to the west has had substantially more rain than us.”

Darren sublets properties at Jambin and Thangool and said it is just the property next to Mount Murchison school that was suffering.

"It is a lot wetter at Jambin, really wet. They have had 150mm,” Darren said.

"This is Central Queensland, sometimes you get it and sometimes you don't.”

Darren needs some rain for his upcoming planting season.

Two-thirds of Darren's property is cropping and he hopes to plant good wheat and chickpea crops this year.

"Hopefully we get another shower of rain so we can start but it is too early to plant just yet,” Darren said.

"If we get a planting rain we can start planting mid-April, otherwise if it is too dry we will have to wait until late June.

"The rain will make it a lot easier and a better crop.”

Darren is holding off for a good crop as it is his only income at the moment.

"We have just destocked for the first time ever because it was so dry,” Darren said.

Grandview has been in the family for more than 60 years, with Darren's father and uncle buying the property when they were 18.

"We could have bought the feed and fed them but the money was good and we had to make the choice,” Darren said.

"We have never got that sort of money for cows and calves before, so we decided to let them go.”

Central Queensland AgForce member Sharon Howard said graziers across the region had all been waiting on the rain.

"The rainfall around the Banana Shire has been limited to storm activity and widespread rain has still not drenched the shire,” Sharon said.

"In many cases, the recent rainfall activity has only heightened the distress for local producers.”

Earlier in the month, the remainder of the shire was officially drought declared.

"The drought declaration was desperately needed and will be needed into the future,” Sharon said.

Sharon hopes Cyclone Debbie has brought the farmers some more rain into their paddocks.

"The area definitely needs more rain,” Sharon said.

"After such an extended period of dry, the moisture profile for farmers will require substantial rain over the extended period for the country to recover.”

Topics:  banana shire grazier cyclone debbie drought rainfall


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