IT WAS a "gut feeling" combined with rainy skies that gave Tamworth dairy farmer Wes Brown the confidence to plant a big crop, in the hope the water to nurture it would come.
Mr Brown, whose dairy farm is on the outskirts of Tamworth, was right on the money - the state government announced a 20 per cent water allocation for irrigators last week.
After more than 18 months with no allocation from the Peel River and Chaffey Dam catchment, general security license holders in the Peel Valley were boosted to a 16 per cent allocation in January, which was upped again to 20 per cent in the February update.
Mr Brown said the rain and the river allocation means he can grow crops to feed his own cows this year, instead of paying hefty costs to truck feed in.
"The way the weather was, we put in 90 acres of corn and now we definitely will get a better crop out of having that amount of water, so I can water it and know I won't have to worry and that's a huge difference," Mr Brown said.
The dairy farmer said he had been buying feed for his 300-odd head of cows for the past couple of years, during the drought.
"We had to buy in feed and that made it really expensive ... we've been doing that for three years, that's how long it hadn't rained for really until last year," he said.
"Any way forward like that, even four per cent makes a huge difference, it makes a big difference to us."
Mr Brown said he was hopeful more water might be allocated to irrigators before the water year ends in June.
The town water for Tamworth has been secured for the next two years, according to the state government, and Mr Brown said it was important to share Peel Valley water with agriculture.
Any way forward like that, even four per cent makes a huge difference, it makes a big difference to us.Wes Brown, Tamworth dairy farmer
"It's supposed to be about sharing, and we shouldn't go without because we supply food and also hay," he said.
"When farmers can spend money, it helps the whole town survive."
Carroll Gap irrigator Tom Wollaston relies on river water, and said although it was positive to see an allocation in the pipeline, it is all part of the ups and downs of farming.
"It's nice to have an allocation, but we've been without before and it will happen again," he said.
"It's always nice to have some water and the conditions are good at the moment so a little bit of water goes a long way."
The water allocations are being reviewed monthly by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, after an assessment of how much water is in the river, dam and tributaries.