Rain in the bank: 117mm falls in December

Muttama Creek in the first week of December.

Muttama Creek in the first week of December.

Last year might have been a drier year for Cootamundra but December came close to delivering record rainfall.

Around 117.4 millimetres of rain was measured at Cootamundra Airport, one of the wettest months of the year.

The majority of that rain fell right when many farmers were about to start harvesting at the start of the month, causing delays and learning to downgraded yields.

It’s double December’s average of 52.4 millimetres and almost a fifth of the year’s total rainfall of 571.2 millimetres.

Landmark agronomist Mark Golder said the large amount of rain in December was unusual for the area and would have meant some grains were downgraded at harvest.

“We don’t normally get that much rain in December, especially when we’ve had a dry winter,” Mr Golder said.

“To get so much late rain was quite unusual.

“For most people they’ve had a reasonable yield but the late rain would have taken a bit of shine off it.”

He said spring rainfall is what makes the difference for crops and harvest and rain in December was simply too late to help.

Mr Golder said some years had high summer rainfall in recent years but “the difference this is this last year was quite dry though during winter and early spring”.

While some farmers would have missed out on the benefit from rain late in the season, the December rainfall wouldn’t all go to waste – Mr Golder said anyone running livestock would extra options.

“It would have made a difference for the pastures, particularly Lucerne,” Mr Golder sad.

“Some graziers would be feeding by hand now if it wasn’t for the rain.”

Depending on ground cover and summer weed control, Mr Golder said the moisture would become helpful when this year’s crops are sown.

“If we get rain in late February and early March it will be an opportunity to sow some grazing crops,” he said.


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