ANY rain is good news all round, but much more is needed to improve seasonal conditions across the region.
The region’s widespread rain, ranging from 20mm at Narrabri to nearly 50mm at Quirindi, lifted spirits this week – on and off the paddock.
Quirindi topped the rainfall across the region with 49.2mm.
Inverell and Walcha received 30mm, Tamworth and Gunnedah had about 26mm, Armidale and Moree each received 24mm and about 20mm fell at Narrabri and Wee Waa.
Cattle prices are expected to lift and crops have benefited from the drink, but winter crops will need a repeat of this week’s falls before harvest to get decent yields.
Farmers, agronomists and selling agents say we’re a long way from out of the woods.
Regional businesses have reported a boost following the rain, with some saying the rainfall gave farmers and townspeople more confidence to spend.
Agricultural merchandise stores are usually some of the first businesses to see improvements following a rain event, once the farmers can get out of their paddocks.
Tamworth Rural branch manager Adam Roland said he expected to see a small improvement over the next few days.
“Farmers are sometimes more willing to spend after rain, but it takes a lot to get their confidence up,” Mr Roland said.
“We’re a long way off a good season.”
Tamworth Business Chamber president Tim Coates said while it didn’t have a huge impact on business, rain provided a general boost to the community.
“If the farmers are happy, the rest of the town’s happy, because we’re an agricultural centre,” Mr Coates said.
“Rain makes people feel better, the sports grounds are softer, it fills rainwater tanks – it’s a general boost to everyone.”
Saleyards across the region reported low numbers, as farmers held on to their stock following the depressed cattle market of the past month.
There were 380 cattle at Tamworth, 460 at Gunnedah, 316 at Armidale and 280 at Inverell
The combined Moree-Narrabri sale wasn’t held due to the wet weather.
“We’ve had about 1000 each week at Tamworth for the past month, but with the low prices, farmers don’t want to sell unless they have to,” Davidson Cameron McCulloch selling agent Daniel McCulloch said.
“It was a pretty strong forecast for widespread rain so the farmers are holding off for better prices.
“Once we have a really good rain event the market will improve, especially the restocker market.”
There is some good news, with the Bureau of Meteorology expecting above-average rainfall for the New England North West.
“The three-monthly outlook for spring is for slightly above-average rainfall in most of NSW, so the Tamworth region can expect more than the average 170mm,” BOM weather observer Nigel Smedley said.