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Two-week-old baby Clay 'brings rain' to drought-stricken Queensland as producers rejoice

By Elly Bradfield and Jennifer Nichols, Wednesday January 20, 2021 - 11:04 EDT
ABC licensed image
Dan and Clay McInnerney have enjoyed the rain at their property, outside Mitchell. - ABC licensed

It did not take long for Clay McInnerney to be christened "the rain baby" by his brothers, because since his birth two weeks ago the wet stuff has not stopped falling on the family's south-west Queensland property.



Clay's father, Dan McInnerney, said the 148 millimetres that fell over the past month had been so beneficial that he was more than happy with the trade-off demanded by the newborn.

"He's only kept us up a couple nights so far, so we'll forgive him for that," Mr McInnerney said.

"If he keeps the rain coming, we can probably put up with a bit less sleep."

Clay's siblings are enjoying the rain and the new addition in equal measure.

"There's plenty of muddy motorbikes around," Mr McInnerney said.

"And muddy clothes, which keeps Mum fairly busy.

"They love having a little brother."



Good luck charm

Mr McInnerney said the rain had turned the season around and the family was now preparing to send more cattle to the property.

"The country itself has responded fantastically," he said.

"We sold most of the younger cattle we had towards the end of last year.

"We still only had about 300 steers left on here, which are actually going ahead really well now.

"We were actually destocked up until last year. We had to take everything off the place, which wasn't much fun."



Mr McInnerney said the falls were still patchy but had given hope to the region.

"There are still people that are missing out, which hopefully will fill into them in the near future," he said.

"It's unbelievable and you can notice it in town and things like that too ? people are obviously a lot more happy.

"So, it's good for everybody, it's good for the town, it's good for the bush."

Big falls on coast

Alexis and Esta Martin have also enjoyed the mud after showers helped their lychee, dragon fruit, and custard apple crops in the Glass House Mountains which, only last year, was struggling with drought.



Their grandmother Karen Martin said they enjoyed helping pot-up custard apple root stock.

"Their mum Cassie had to wash them three times to get the mud off," she said.

The Gympie District Beef Liaison group said graziers were grinning after receiving welcome rain to start the year, but it was too soon to say if the drought had broken.

The group is one of the largest and longest-serving beef industry groups in Queensland, formed back in 1982 and representing about 200 members from Gympie, the Wide Bay, South Burnett, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane Valley districts.

"This has been the best start for at least a half-a-dozen years. It's just been wonderful," said group president Mick Seeney.

"This early rain is just like winning the lottery for a farmer.

"I had a mate send me a photo this morning of his dams actually full and that's the first time in about three years."



Cattle prices 'unheard of'

With unprecedented cattle prices, Mr Seeney believed most growers would be looking to sell stock, rather than keep it.

"Most people are selling ? the prices of cattle are unheard of in my era, my lifetime," he said.

"Breeders and calves are bringing upwards of $2,500 to $3,000.

"A lot of older producers are saying it can't last, but I think the forecast for the short-term, for the next nine months, prices will stay up there."



Mason Mayne from Kilkivan had 61mm of rain in recent days, which got the creek running.

"We've been really lucky here," he said.

"We had rain in December, and we've had good follow-up falls.

"The grass is growing like crazy and our tanks are overflowing."

The Department of Agriculture and Queensland's drought committee will meet after the wet season and make its drought declaration recommendations in April.


- ABC

© ABC 2021

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