Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Take a Punt on the Weather Forecast

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Take a Punt on the Weather Forecast

Article excerpt

MID-WINTER and it's time to look forward to an untroubled spring, and after the past four months, all those in agriculture deserve it.

The doomsayers have heard long-range forecasts that we have seen the last of the rain for a long time, and say the next six months will be dry. Other doomsayers say the opposite - that we are in for a major flood in August.

Where they get such conflicting information is beyond me.

For those in agriculture, long-range forecasts can be notoriously inaccurate. But short range - seven day - are becoming something we can rely on, and far more accurate.

Computer weather channels should be looked at daily, as the seven-day forecast is regularly updated according to changes in predicted highs and lows, temperatures and weather patterns.

This helps weekly planning no end.

The flooding rains that hit recently, coming from the north with lows sitting off the coast for a long time, were most unusual.

More often than not, cyclone disturbances in the north of Queensland and off their coast, mean we get good rain four to seven days later.

I look for the rain clouds coming down over Alice Springs for rain out west. Mostly these patterns travel down to the south but we often get handy rain from them.

But preparations for the calendar year must revolve about the norm - this being a dry winter/spring followed by good showers and storms in October to December, with soaking rains between January and April.

Anything extra by way of rains in August/September (past two years), only regular falls of 40ml in the autumn, and some rain in winter are bonuses - but don't bank on them.

Be sure your production and beef management fits to the norm. The provision of oats and ryegrass and conserved winter feed in the paddock or in the shed from heavy spring and early summer rainfall is aimed at feeding out in the usual dry and cold winter.

This conservation also means that dry times or floods outside the norm will be managed more easily. …

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