GREEN RETURNS: Vitulus stud principal Margo Hayes, Thornton, inspects one of her pastures that recent rainfall has given new life to.
GREEN RETURNS: Vitulus stud principal Margo Hayes, Thornton, inspects one of her pastures that recent rainfall has given new life to. Dominic Elsome

Greenery boosts producers' confidence despite BOM warnings

RAIN has boosted confidence across the region, with many producers no longer heading into summer with a sense of complete dread.

Some areas of the region have received more than 100mm so far in October, but long-range forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology don't suggest it is likely to stick around.

Vitulus Stud principal Margo Hayes said the rain had made an instant difference to people's outlooks.

"Now everyone's got a smile on their face and a positive outlook,” Mrs Hayes said.

"As soon as it rains, it changes your whole outlook on it all, it renews your enthusiasm and off you go again.”

She said the recent rain had allowed the stud to plant pastures for the first time in months.

"We're preparing to start ripping up the paddocks and putting in some pastures,” she said.

"We've had no pasture, it's been bare dirt for the past six months.”

While the rain has certainly boosted spirits, the falls coincided with the sobering announcement from BoM that the likelihood of an El Nino event this year had increased to about 70 per cent.

More worryingly, long-range forecasts suggest a more than 80 per cent chance of a hotter than average summer ahead.

Mrs Hayes said while the threat of a hotter summer was certainly concerning, she put little faith in long-range predictions.

"I don't think it's that accurate that you can use it for long term strategic planning,” she said.

Qualipac director Troy Qualischefski was similarly sceptical of the three month outlook.

"We'll take it as it comes,” he said. "I have confidence in the seven day forecast from the bureau but I don't have that much confidence in the long range forecast at the moment.”

The well known farming business is presently harvesting its winter onion crop and preparing for summer production of sweet corn and green beans, among others.

Mr Qualischefski said the rain had boosted the confidence of many growers, helping to restore some much need moisture to the soil.

"It's a good situation to move into summer with that amount of rain on the ground,” he said.

Vitulus Stud Principle Margo Hayes with her Ausline cattle on her now green Thornton property.
Vitulus Stud Principle Margo Hayes with her Ausline cattle on her now green Thornton property. Dominic Elsome

El Nino chance rises to 70 per cent

THE weather outlook for the Lockyer Valley and Somerset regions are, as always, complicated.

Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Jonathon Pollock said the November to January forecast still showed dry conditions continuing for much of Australia

He said predictions weren't as clear cut for the region, as the rainfall outlook was ina neutral position - at justbelow a 40 per cent chance of above-median rainfall.

The excitement brought by rainfall over the last two weeks was tempered by BoM's announcement of an El Nino alert on October 9.

Mr Pollock said there was about a 70 per cent chance of an El Nino event occurring in the coming months.

"That's about three times the normal odds,” he said.

Mr Pollock said an ElNino event later in the year would be different to others.

"It's complicated because it's quite a late start in the year for El Nino,” he said

"Generally El Nino is something that can affect us during winter and spring and so often when we hear El Nino we think below-average rainfall ... but the effects of El Nino in summer are a bit different.”

He explained an ElNino during summer wasunlikely to produce thesame dry conditions usually associated with the event.

While this may come as a relief for many producers, Mr Pollock said expectations should be tempered.

"Our climate outlook takes into account more than just El Nino - and it's still showing a fairly dry outlook for a lot of Queensland,” he said.


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