Praying for an end to region's big dry
By JANE GARDNER
IT WAS the most parched autumn in decades, but local farmers are betting on one wet winter.
Some locals even reckon the big wet we experienced in June 2005 is due again, despite the extremely dry conditions of the past three months.
John Allen, a cattle farmer from Old Bonalbo, is calling the big dry out west the ??green drought??.
??We haven??t had much rain, but just enough to get us by.
Water is very scarce, but the grass is green,?? he said.
??Normally January, February and March are fairly damp months but this year they haven??t been. The last three months in particular have been very dry ?V we only got just enough rain to keep it green but the dams are low and there isn??t much in the creek.??
As a man of the land, Mr Allen has spent his entire working life depending on the weather. He also believes the big wet is coming.
??We have had a lot of cycles and get wet periods every 10 to 12 years. I do believe we are due for one very soon,?? he said.
In the early 1980s, Victorian cattle farmers were in crisis and sent agistment cattle to Old Bonalbo, which was experiencing wonderful wet weather. Meanwhile, Northern Star weather watchers say there hasn??t been an autumn as dry as this year??s since the 1960s.
Now, water is a scarce resource ?V but according to Mr Allen, it??s not a side effect of global warming.
??I don??t really believe in it,?? he said.
??We??ve been through this dry cycle now and I??m sure we will go through a wet one very soon.??
And it??s not just Mr Allen who believes the big dry is about to break.
One man who spends his working day chatting to local farmers reckons there is a common feeling among the community that June is going to be a very soggy month.
Peter Fletcher, who manages Rural Buying Machinery in Lismore, said he??d heard similar predictions in the past few weeks.
??Some farmers are forecasting a June flood,?? he said. ??A few bones are starting to ache.??
??Everyone believes in them,?? Mr Fletcher said. ??There are blokes who??d bet money on it!??
The Bureau of Meteorology, meanwhile, forecasts average winter rainfall for all of northern NSW, with computer models predicting a return to wet weather later in the year as a new phase develops in the Pacific Ocean.