Why 'dry July' has actually been good for Gympie farmers
CONTRARY to weather reports indicating the Gympie region has endured one of the hottest and driest Julys on record, some farmers claim they've enjoyed greener pastures this winter.
Bureau of Meteorology records have shown as little as 11mm of rain falling in the Gold City through last month - well below the 51.3mm average - but Kandanga cattle farmer Mick Seeney is one who considers himself lucky this year.
Managing 110 head of cattle on his 160-acre (64.74ha) property and about 350 on his three farms combined, Mr Seeney said he had enjoyed a better winter season than normal.
"We've had rain consistently for the last three months,” Mr Seeney said.
"It would have been only 20 days of that three months we've not had rain. On most days it's 1-2mm and on other days it's 15-20mm.
"Up until two weeks ago the cattle were standing in ankle-deep mud in the yards. I've been weaning and my yards were ankle-deep in mud.
"It's been that same way - I was talking to a producer who lives on the east side of Gympie who says the same. On the western side it's totally different, they've only been getting about half of what we've been getting.
"When you go out to Kilkivan and Goomeri they're probably not even getting that much. For us, if we're only taking the Gympie area from Goomeri to the coast, it's still been a really good winter for grass, it's still green.
"The other thing that's saved us is that we haven't really had a heavy frost on the eastern side, even on the western side, because of the moisture in the ground the frost hasn't killed the grass off.”
Though he initially thought he would struggle with his feed budget before the winter set in, Mr Seeney said the equation had since reversed.
"It's been as good a winter as I've ever seen, especially for grass,” he said.
"Three months ago I was struggling with my feed budget to carry me through the winter, two months ago it looked like I was nearly going to get there, only a week ago I had more feed than what I needed.
"With the cattle I'm carrying I've ended up with more feed than I needed.”
But the wet season hasn't come without its challenges for Mr Seeney, with foot rot in the cattle and bloating from too much clover consumption.
"A lot of producers would read this and think 'oh the poor bugger, he's complaining about too much feed' - what a problem to have,” he said.
Mr Seeney, who also serves as the Gympie Beef Liaison Group president, was looking forward to the announcement of winners at last night's Gympie Carcass Classic dinner.
WHAT THEY SAID
"I've got a small property on the river just north of Gympie, if you come into winter with no grass you're going to get into trouble. If you keep enough up your sleeve for the winter it's not going to worry you. This has stacked up as a pretty good winter for me.”
"I've only been here a few years at Lower Wonga, I've got about 100 cattle. The earlier rain was good this year, it's been dry in July but it's been reasonable. I've got another place at Gayndah and it's a lot drier up there. It's been a reasonable winter.”