DROP OF HOPE: How rain has changed our farmers' outlook
THE first hint of a change in weather wasn't clouds or thunder for Tannymorel farmers Lyle and Peter Grayson.
It was turtles.
One of the "little signs" handed down over generations, the Graysons know when turtles come crawling out of the creek there's a good chance some wet weather is on the way.
Like most farmers around the region, a weekend of rainfall won't be enough to break the drought or even make them confident enough to plant the millet and forage sorghum they would usually be putting in around this time of year.
But the drum of rain on the roof and 24mm in the gauge was enough to stir a bit of hope.
"The rain hasn't been enough, nowhere near. Not that would take any pressure off the way that drought is," Lyle said.
"But it is a good start. If we get follow-up rain, that would be good."
Lyle said it would take a flood to break the worst drought he has ever seen.
"The length of time it takes to rebuild things, that sort of thing is not usually understood," he said.
Peter said it would take most farmers in the region five months after good rain to start making an income and about a year to get back to where they were before the drought hit.
Between 50-80mm would be needed for farmers to consider planting, but few were lucky to get that much, according to Pacific Seeds territory manager Bill Smith.
"It was very good rain because it was nice and gentle but it is short of what most would need to put a summer crop in," he said.
Winter planting had not been an option for many, Mr Smith said - the conditions had been too dry.
But with more rain predicted this week, he hopes the summer season will hold better prospects.
"It has given us hope. It can rain again. Because once you get your first inch you think 'Well it might happen again'."
Peter and Lyle Grayson agreed the chance of more rain was good.
"It is early days, we'll have to see," Lyle said.
Summer planting goes ahead for some
WHILE many farmers aren't game to start planting off the back of last weekend's rain, others received just enough to make a start.
Glen Boal got 44mm in Loch Lomond and will begin to plant corn and forage millet in the coming week.
"We're aren't as hard off as a lot of areas that have had a lot drier run than we have," Mr Boal said.
"In some ways the drought has had it's upside because we weren't spending thousands on spraying weeds.
"Obviously it would have been nice to have winter crop but the way it turned out missing the crop, it stayed dry for longer and we weren't spending as much money."
With paddocks already fertilised and ready to go, Mr Boal hopes for some follow-up rain throughout the week and into the summer season.
"They're talking an El Nino year but you can still get a lot of storms, you just don't get the general rain," he said.
"So it's not as doomsday as what you hear, I think.
"To feel comfortable you would like to get another inch."