IT might not be drought-breaking, but thanks to recent rains Bathurst grazier David McKay has finally stopped hand-feeding his cattle.
So far this month, 45.4 millimetres of rain has been recorded by the Bureau of Meteorology at Bathurst Airport, which is just under the long-term average for the month of 52.8mm.
Overall this year, however, Bathurst has received well below average rainfall with just 357.5mm recorded while the long-term average is 457.9mm.
“I’m very surprised that we’ve had the rain that we’ve had,” Mr McKay said of the October rains. “I haven’t fed for seven weeks and our crops have started growing again and with this on top of that it’s been fantastic.”
Mr McKay has been hand-feeding his cattle since February and not only has this added to his daily workload, but the cost of having hay delivered from far away has been expensive.
“The drought is not broken, we need more to fill the dams up but it’s been a great reprieve,” he said.
Each year Mr McKay sows oats at his Evans Plains farm for a winter crop and he said this helped get his cattle through the past few months.
“We’d have a couple of inches of growth, but if it rains I’ll put them back on the oats,” he said of his cattle.
Mr McKay said even just the little bit of growth currently in his paddocks has helped boost the health of his cows and calves.
“The cows were poor, but they’re all fat again,” he said.
“The calves are looking really good.”
Mr McKay is also the Bathurst Branch president of the NSW Farmers Association and he said it had been a very tough year for the region’s farmers.
An El Nino alert may have been issued earlier this month by the Bureau of Meteorology, but Mr McKay said he was hopeful more significant rain would fall before summer.
Predictions are for a wet weekend with thunderstorms possible on Saturday, with Weatherzone data showing up to 25mm could fall across the two days.