Bathurst farmers smiling after a season of good weather

ON THE JOB: Gary Hamer and Bear have had a busy few days this week raking and baling hay at Perthville. Photo: NADINE MORTON 120116nmhay2

ON THE JOB: Gary Hamer and Bear have had a busy few days this week raking and baling hay at Perthville. Photo: NADINE MORTON 120116nmhay2

BATHURST may be bracing itself for a long, hot, dry summer, but the region’s farmers say they are having their best season in 60 years.

There is an 80 per cent chance that summer in Bathurst will be warmer than average, Bureau of Meteorology data shows.

This summer will also be dry, with a 75 per cent chance of below average rainfall.

Grain farmers, and father and son, Ken and Garry Hamer said the weather during the last few months has meant they are having the best season they have had in decades.

This week the duo are raking and baling up around 500 bails of hay on a 32-acre property on the Vale Road at Perthville.

“Everyone’s having a good season, it’s our busiest time of year,” Ken said.

However, this year was not looking so positive just a few months ago.

“In March and April it was looking very grim and things started to rain on the first of May,” he said.

From there the rain did not seem to stop for Bathurst’s farmers, with more than double the average long-term winter rainfall recorded.

In all, 310.5 millimetres of rain was recorded during from June to August, the long-term average for winter is 143.3mm.

It’s really been ideal, I reckon every 60 years you get it as good as this. - Sheep grazier John Seaman

A hopeful Ken said: “Let’s hope this is the start of the fat years.”

“Since 1995 it’s all been up and down, you couldn’t seem to get two good seasons in a row,” he said.

Ken said good growing conditions mean that while there was a lot of work on, there was also a glut in the grain market, and that was why he was bailing the 32-acres of oats for feed rather than selling them as cereal.

“For farmers who can’t grow grain, now is the time to buy it,” he said.

But for those with stock, conditions have been perfect, sheep grazier John Seaman said.

“It’s really been ideal, I reckon every 60 years you get it as good as this,” he said.

“Stock prices are good, wool prices are good, cattle prices are good.”

Mr Seaman described the current situation for the region’s farmers as: “nearly made to order.”

“We got the best winter rainfall for probably 60 years and it kept going through spring.”

Considering the predicted hot, dry weather for this summer, Mr Seaman said he was a little concerned.

“I don’t think things are the same as they used to be,” he said. “[The possibility of] 40 degrees, we’ve never had that in Bathurst before.”

A hot start is predicted to kick off summer in Bathurst during the next few days with temperatures set to stay above 30 degrees until Monday.

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