Rowley Deane and his wife Jenny.
Rowley Deane and his wife Jenny. Contributed

Lowest rainfall in 60 years for western Qld town

LONGREACH has long been a town in dire need of rain, however last month saw the area's levels fall to the lowest they've been in 67 years.

The town received only 2.8mm at the airport and 0mm in the town itself.

This extreme low matched that of the town's previous record for the lowest amount of rainfall in 1951, where the town also received 0mm for April.

Despite the widespread downpour across Queensland at the start of the year, Longreach was still left in dire straits, with some properties only receiving 10mm.

Cattle breeder Rowley Deane is the fifth generation property owner of Bimbah, a property lucky enough to be on "river country”.

This river access has put him in far more favourable conditions to some of his neighbours who had been destocked for three years.

Despite the widespread barren lands, Mr Deane said the term "drought” is not unusual in his town.

"This is the sixth summer it's been below to extremely below average,” he said.

Central Queensland's total rainfall for April.
Central Queensland's total rainfall for April. Contributed

"Over the last six years, our property has been completely destocked for 12 months. That was in the summer of 2015 to 2016. Some have been completely destocked for much longer and still are.

"Then we had that big winter rain in 2016. But we haven't been fully stocked since well before that.

"We're one of the lucky ones. We're probably about 60 to 70 per cent stocked at the moment and we'll probably be able to maintain until next summer. But we're in a different position to others.”

Although the early year downpour saw "patchy rain” across the town, with Mr Deane receiving "93mm out of that”, the need for a "follow-up rainfall” is still greatly needed to grow feed.

"We're nowhere near the full moisture profile,” he said.

"It will take a lot more.

"Looking across my paddock, some places don't look too bad... but it's still very sparse and pretty thin.

"The feed you've got now has to last you through to next summer. But our neighbour to the north, I was there the other day doing a water run for him and it's bloody awful. There's nothing there.”

Mr Deane's neighbour will most likely be destocking the last of his cattle going into the dry, winter period.

Despite the struggle many graziers are going through, Mr Deane is hopeful that one day, there will be some relief for our graziers.

"It will end sometime but who knows when that's going to be,” he said.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the Central West may not be getting that relief any time soon.

Due to an "upper pressure system” that pushed "dry, southerly winds” up north from Tasmania last month, there was no moisture in the Central area to create any showers or storms.

"In terms of what's happening ahead, in the next week we can expect more coastal showers around Yeppoon,” BoM meteorologist Harry Clark said.

"Inland, those showers will drop off quickly to very isolated showers.

"There will be nothing substantial for the beginning half of next week... [and] a lot of certainty about showers over the coast pushing inland at the end of next week.

"If a coast trough does form, it won't affect Longreach.”

APRIL 2018 RAINFALL TOTALS

  • Rockhampton - 20mm. Lowest - 0mm in 1951. Highest - 198.6mm in 1990
  • Emerald - 6.2mm. Lowest - 0mm in 1993. Highest - 130.1mm in 1998.
  • Biloela - 17.6mm.
  • Longreach - 2.8mm. Lowest - 0mm in 1951. Highest - 313.8 in 1990.
  • Moranbah - 8mm
  • Yeppoon - 82.6mm. Lowest - 2mm in 2008. Highest - 205.8mm in 2000.
  • Blackwater - 6.4mm
  • Clermont - 6mm