A year of rain brings hope to farmers ahead of cattle sales

NEW YEAR, NEW OUTLOOK: Bill Hallas sells to a crowd of buyers at Gatton Saleyards in previous years.
NEW YEAR, NEW OUTLOOK: Bill Hallas sells to a crowd of buyers at Gatton Saleyards in previous years. Derek Barry

A LOT can change in a year.

This time in 2015, Ipswich was looking at more cloudless skies after one of the driest 12 months' in the region's history.

Farmers were wondering if they would be forced to live through another dry year and cattle sale yards were looking grim.

In 2016, the prospect is a whole lot different.

This week, Ipswich has a high chance of daily showers and low temperatures. Dams are full, the grass is growing and cattle farmers are hoping for a year where the industry can recover across the state.

Livestock agent Bill Hallas knows the industry better than many. This month, he celebrates 37 years auctioning cattle at Gatton.

He was jubilant at one of the first sales of the year in Woodford yesterday and said farmers across the region were feeling absolutely happier about the prospects for 2016 thanks to the return of the rain.

Ipswich's Amberley weather station recorded an estimated total of 996mm of rain in 2015 - practically a boon year compared to the estimated 586mm recorded in 2014.

About 6mm has fallen so far in the first days of 2016.

Livestock graze in healthy pastures as Queenland farmers look forward to a better year ahead.
Livestock graze in healthy pastures as Queenland farmers look forward to a better year ahead. David Nielsen

He said the drought affecting most of Queensland was definitely not broken, but it just might be if more rain fell in the west.

If that happens, he said competition to buy cattle would be fierce and prices would be good.

"There's not many people with excess cattle to sell," Mr Hallas said.

Gatton's first cattle sale of the year will be held on Monday.

While the rain is forecast to keep on falling until at least Sunday, the low temperatures won't stick around with it.

The mercury will begin creeping back up tomorrow, when Ipswich is expected to have a high temperature of 32 degrees.

It's then forecast to reach 31 on Thursday and 30 on Friday.

Seqwater does not expect the forecast rainfall to cause significant runoff into Wivenhoe or Somerset dams and does not have plans to operate dam gates.

As of yesterday morning, Wivenhoe Dam was 90.6% full and Somerset was at 98.5% full.

Rainfall in Ipswich:

  • Annual median rainfall is 873.8mm
  • The lowest rainfalls recorded in Ipswich was during 2000 when only 392mm was recorded.
  • Other low years include 1957 when 492.3mm was recorded and 1993 when 403.6mm was recorded.
  • The highest level of rainfall recorded in IPswich was unsurprisingly 1974, the year of record-breaking floods. Amberley weather station recorded 1398.1mm of rain that year.

Topics:  cattle sales farmers ipswich livestock queensland rain

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