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Central Queensland producers welcome rain

Kathleen Calderwood, Wednesday April 30, 2014 - 08:14 EST
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Lickity Split runs in the rain on Newstead station outside Ilfracombe. - ABC

The first signs of reprieve from the heat and dry weather are beginning in Queensland.

Large storms in Central Queensland overnight saw falls of up to 50 millimetres.

Until 9am Wednesday, 147mm had been recorded at Mt Panorama, south of Emerald, 50mm at the Bedford Weir and 83mm at Byfield, near Yeppoon.

But despite the good falls, many are still looking to the sky in hope of a decent downpour.

Blackwater organic beef producer, Brett Christie, recorded over 100mm in the last three days; 52mm last night, 32mm Monday night and 39mm on Sunday night.

He says it's the first decent rain they've had since mid-November

"It was getting to the stage where we wouldn't finish cattle in the time frame that we usually would plan on," he said.

"So it's just in the nick of time that I think we'll have cattle putting on weight form here on and we'll be turning them off as anticipated."

Bureau duty forecaster, Nicholas Shera, says falls have been reported from Gladstone up to Moranbah, and out to just east of Emerald.

He says the rain should continue for another two days or so, and will move to the west.

Emerald agronomist, Graham Spackman, says while the rain is welcome more is needed for farmers in the Central Highlands.

"We will see a small amount of sorghum going in and some mungbeans in the next week or ten days," he said.

"But there'll be a large part of the area that still needs more rain.

"From Emerald south we really want to have our sorghum in the ground by the end of January or the first week of February.

"They've got a couple of weeks longer in the northern part of the Highlands, so we're getting near the end of the planting window.

"And with sorghum prices strong, growers are fairly keen to get some in if they can get the rain."

On the coast, where pineapple growers are busy harvesting, Yeppoon grower and Tropical Pines chairman, Mick Cranny, says the rain won't affect the pickers.

He says the rain will help crops that are yet to be picked.

"All the planting that's happened in the November and December periods, it will settle that in nicely and get that started," he said.

"All the plants that are planted over the previous 18 months are all desperately looking for a bit more of a rain.

"The fruit that's coming up for February March April May June will all be benefitted by the rain, it'll just give the plants another burst of energy and all that will help just bring the fruit to a better size."


© ABC 2014

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