Wet weather continued through October, but farmers aren’t complaining

OCTOBER has been another month of quality rainfall in the Tumut-Adelong-Batlow region, following our wettest winter since 2016 and a rainy September.

It will surprise few that this has been Tumut’s wettest October since 2016, with 76.2mm falling, compared to 2016’s 86.8mm, and the long-term average of 76.4.

Last year only 15.4mm came down in October, while 27.7mm fell in 2018 and 57mm in 2017.

763mm has fallen this year so far, and the main reason for the recent rainfall   is La Nina, which is a period of below average sea-surface temperatures across the east-central equatorial Pacific Ocean, which increases rainfall in the South-East Pacific.

“Everything is going according to plan,” Wagga-based Bureau of Meteorology technical officer Nigel Smedley said.

In January, the NSW Department of Primary Industry Combined Drought Indicator showed that all of New South Wales was in one of three drought categories. Now it shows that nearly 80 per cent of the state is in the non-drought or recovery categories.

Tumut-based agronomist Nathan Ferguson said that farmers were naturally upbeat about the rainfall, despite some concerns.

“It’s great unless you want to cut hay or silage, as there is not enough drying time,” he said.

“The graziers are happy for it to keep raining. We only need average rainfall now to reach 1000mm to fall for the year in Tumut.”

Mr Ferguson was driving around the Dunns Road fireground on Wednesday and said that everything was “very green”.

“There is feed out there half a metre to a metre high,” he said.

“The fact that the trees are black is the only way you know a fire has been through.”

However, he said that with the wet weather, sheep farmers needed to watch out for blowflies.

“In the wet, flies lay eggs on sheep and the maggots eat into the sheep,” he said.

“That’s why mulesing (the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around the breech of a sheep to prevent flystrike) is so popular.”

Meanwhile, Ralph Wilson of Wilgro Orchards and Cider in Batlow says that orchardists are generally happy with the rain, but with some misgivings.

“You’d rather have the rain than drought and fires, so no one’s complaining,” he said.

“It is so much better than this time last year. However, there is some concern over the effect of the rain on pollination. Bees don’t like working in the wet and cold, but I think we will be alright; it is too early to say if it will be a problem; give it another couple of weeks.

“Considering the year we have had, most people are very happy with the rain.

“The dams are full, so if we have a dry spell we have got water. There is good ground moisture and I am pretty sure we will get a good crop.”

Blowering Dam is currently at 83 per cent capacity.