There's money in mud - Widespread rain buoys rural outlook

MUDDY ROAD: Bootscooting it across an AgQuip laneway yesterday but smiling in the slush were organising staffers, from left, Brett Clarke, Kristy Williams, Kate Nugent, Aaron Harley, Emma O’Connell and Luci Smith.  The agricutlural showcase gets underway today. Photo: Barry Smith 180814BSC06

MUDDY ROAD: Bootscooting it across an AgQuip laneway yesterday but smiling in the slush were organising staffers, from left, Brett Clarke, Kristy Williams, Kate Nugent, Aaron Harley, Emma O’Connell and Luci Smith. The agricutlural showcase gets underway today. Photo: Barry Smith 180814BSC06

THE best rain the region has seen in five months has delivered uplifted spirits in drought and a more optimistic outlook for a good spring season to come.

And a weekend of gentle soaking falls averaging about 25mm across the slopes and the tablelands has lifted farm hopes and created a magnificent lead-in to AgQuip, which starts today.

It might have been sloshy and soaking on the agricultural field days site outside Gunnedah – but there’s money in mud, as organiser Barry Harley has quipped and AgQuip only reaps the benefit when it lifts sales, puts a smile on the dial of exhibitors and brings out farmers in boots.

The rain, Mr Harley said, had been a great dust abatement strategy.

“It makes things a little more difficult in setting up but we’re not going to wish the rain away,” he said.

“We just had to put a little more resources into preparations. We had four cranes working full time and nine forklifts from 7am to 7pm Monday to help get things ready.”

The rain might have been widespread,  but some areas were luckier than others across the region.

Some areas west of Narrabri reported the best falls while Tamworth was sitting on about 45mm late yesterday with about four millimetres added after 9am yesterday.

Until then Tamworth had registered some 42mm – the best one day rainfall total in over a year.

It was the first rain in almost a month. 

Tamworth recorded 26.6mm in the 24 hours to 9am Sunday and followed that with another 15.4mm in the next 24 hours. There was more drizzle yesterday to top the gauge up again. 

But the forecast was for clearing showers overnight yesterday as the tail of the low trough which first brought the rain on Saturday afternoon cleared the region.

Falls were widespread through both the plains and tablelands, with some places on the plains receiving more than 50mm, Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) officer in charge Michael Glasson said yesterday.

The best total in the district up to 9am yesterday was at Mt Kaputar, with a whopping 77.8mm.

Other good falls included Krui Plains (near Croppa Creek) with 52mm to 9am yesterday, Pilliga 54mm and Pallamallawa 55mm.

Drake (on the tablelands) and Coonabarabran reported 38mm, Glen Innes 30mm, Armidale 25mm, Manilla 30mm, Moree 25mm, Narrabri 32mm, Tenterfield 26mm, Tingha 31mm, Inverell 36mm, Gunnedah 30mm and Quirindi 31mm up to 9am yesterday.

It was the best rain event experienced since March 27, Mr Glasson said.

“It’s a pretty significant rainfall event compared to what we have had this year,” he said. 

“It’s nothing to break the drought but it will certainly help the winter crops and, if we get some follow-up, that will be handy.”

Somerton grain and cattle farmer Max Caslick said he had received 41mm up until 9am yesterday.

“It’s the best rain we’ve had for a long time,” Mr Caslick said.

The system eased yesterday but there were still some handy falls in the district between 9am and 3pm – including Armidale Airport 4.6mm, Bendemeer 8mm, Mt Kaputar 4.2mm, Tamworth 3.2mm, Tingha 2.4mm and Weabonga 12mm. 

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