Saturday's wild weather in Gunnedah delivers little rain

THE Gunnedah region was briefly lashed by wild weather on Saturday evening.

An afternoon cool change brought a short burst of hail, strong winds and a thunder storm.

Unfortunately, the change failed to bring substantial rainfall to the region, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) recording 6.4mm of rain for Gunnedah on Saturday and 3.8mm on Sunday.

The rain brings Gunnedah’s April rainfall to 12.8mm, and  Gunnedah’s 2018 total rainfall to 83.2mm.

Gunnedah agronomist Jim Hunt told The Namoi Valley Independent the rain was largely ineffective for farmers.

“The rain will help farmers who have dry-sown their oats already consolidate their dry-sowing,” Mr Hunt said.

“We have seen a fair bit of dry-sown oats around the area and this rain should hopefully establish what has been sown and really help it along.”

Mr Hunt said he was unsure if the rain has hindered cotton farmers during harvest.

“I haven’t seen too much damage, but I haven’t really had a good look across the region yet,” he said.

“Time will tell if areas that received high winds had their cotton crops affected but so far I haven’t seen much damage.”

Manilla stock agent Sam Plevey said the rainfall would have little impact on cattle prices in the region.

“I’d say it will have very little impact due to lack of rain we got,” Mr Plevey said.

“In terms of the quality of the cattle, it’s been dry for so long the rain won’t have too much of an impact on them, but if it doesn’t rain it will have an impact on the amount of cattle that come to market.”

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The Purtle Plevey stock agent said sale prices are currently steady.

“At the moment we are blessed that parts of Queensland are having a good season and are buying plenty of cattle from around our region,” Mr Plevey said.

“In saying that, feed prices are still quite high and given there is very little grass around due to the dry conditions we will see the supply and demand of the market continue and affect the whole market.”

Mr Hunt said farmers will have “tough calls” to make about winter crops.

“We will need significant rain before anyone starts sowing winter crops,” Mr Hunt said.

“At this stage we haven’t had enough rain to sow a winter crop and tough calls are going to have to be made about whether to have a winter crop at all.”

The HuntAg Solutions agronomist said winter crops like barley will become popular with farmers given the dry conditions.

“Any crops grown on last year’s winter crop land may be marginal due to the low soil profile,” he said.

“As it stands, without more rain the entire winter cropping season may be marginal but certain crops such as barley can grow well in marginal areas may still go well.

“Farmers should try not to disturb their winter cropping land as much as possible and try to maintain as much moisture in their soil as possible.”

BOM is forecasting a mostly dry week for Gunnedah with an 80 per cent chance of rain on Friday and 50 per cent chance of rain on Saturday.