Early storms bring western hope

Parched central and north west soaking up early storms


The Big Dry
Horses at Bibil, north of Muttaburra, are still being fed hay a week after 75mm failed to produce any grass response. Photo supplied.

Horses at Bibil, north of Muttaburra, are still being fed hay a week after 75mm failed to produce any grass response. Photo supplied.

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A week after a 75 millimetre drenching, Jaye and Ben Hall’s country 60km north of Muttaburra is “as black as your boot”.

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A week after a 75 millimetre drenching, Jaye and Ben Hall’s country 60km north of Muttaburra is “as black as your boot”.

They were one of the beneficiaries of the isolated storms that were a feature of last week in western Queensland, and although they’ve had no response from Mitchell grass country starved of rain for nearly six years, they are happy to have the moisture banked in the ground.

“The country hasn’t responded but what it’s done is put moisture in the soil,” Jaye said. “If we get some more now, we might see something.”

After years of well below average seasons, any new growth will have to come from butts saved after the pair destocked in June.

“We’re looking at it as a great start, and anything that might grow has the best chance now, with no stock on,” said Jaye.

“It seems to be the way of life here. We’ve been at Bibil for 12 years and we’ve had six good years and six bad ones.

“We’re not sure what normal is anymore.”

Thomson River freshers

Good falls further north, in the Hughenden/Prairie/Torrens Creek district, have seen Longreach’s water stocks improve greatly in recent days.

It was a happy Longreach Regional Council mayor, Ed Warren who posted videos of flowing water to social media last week, along with the news that the Thomson River was rising and the Long Reach waterhole was full to overflowing.

“It’s always an early present if we get the hole filled before Christmas,” he said. “Last year it happened a day before; this year it’s a month before.”

It means the Longreach community has been spared level two water restrictions, although Ilfracombe, Isisford and Yaraka are not so lucky, and have restricted sprinkler hours.

“The weir at Longreach filled quicker than I thought it would,” Cr Warren said. “We had freshers from a couple of sources, originally from a fair way up, plus top-ups from closer in.”

He said milder temperatures were helping with evaporation rates, and people were feeling positive about the season ahead.

Handy storms in the north west, between Mount Isa and Middleton, meant that Blackall lost a few numbers from its last cattle sale for 2017, scheduled for Thursday.

According to Jaye Hall, her brother, Darcy Daly, had 25mm on his country south of McKinlay on Monday night.

“It’s starting to get around,” she said.

Who Got the Rain Facebook page rain listings:

  • 75mm in four days – Mick Murphy, Maiden Springs, Hughenden
  • 50mm – Dolly Grant, Warrnambool Downs, Winton
  • 25mm – Robyn Lethbridge, Rockyview, Georgetown
  • 11mm – Sue Hegarty, Colanya, Longreach
  • 16mm – Heather Jensen, Bullant Ridge, Normanton
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