Local drought committee member and Mount Sylvia cattle producer Ian Lindenmayer. (Photo: Dominic Elsome)
Local drought committee member and Mount Sylvia cattle producer Ian Lindenmayer. (Photo: Dominic Elsome)

Why farmers are praying bureau has got the forecast right

A LA NINA has been declared for Australia, but farmers say they won't believe it until they see it.

This week, the Bureau of Meteorology announced a La Nina had formed in the Pacific Ocean, which greatly increases the chances of above average rainfalls.

But following years of drought, farmers aren't optimistic in the forecast, and say the Lockyer Valley would need more than one good rainfall to break the dry.

"Realistically, to fill the Lockyer back up to full its going to take a good season, not just one flood," grazier Ian Lindenmayer said.

"Farmers have been praying. The underground water is the lifeblood of the Lockyer and if we don't get a recharge, much of the Valley is going to be looking for water to continue growing produce."

Mr Lindenmayer, a cattle producer from Mount Sylvia, also serves on the drought advisory board.

He said many farmers were looking with anticipation that rain would come, but the underlying feeling was "I hope the bureau is right".

"People have been sitting tight," he said.

The last La Nina event was from 2010 to 2012, which resulted in one of Australia's wettest two-year periods on record.

Tropical cyclone activity from 2010-2011 was normal.

However, it was five severe-rated cyclones, including TC Yasi, that caused widespread damage.

Last month, Higgins Storm Chasers predicted 15 tropical cyclones this season, with eight being a severe category three or higher.

They also predicted 25 tropical lows for the wet season.

Mr Lindenmayer said this year's rainfall totals should have been much higher, and that he was close to the annual average total as a deficiency.

"We had about 16 inches in the space of two weeks, it was wet, but it ran off," he said.

"It just rain into the creek. The subsoil everywhere is lacking good moisture."

Last month, Mr Lindenmayer began supplementary feeding his cattle and said if the dry continued, he would have to increase their feed.

"There's been no change in the drought declaration," he said.


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