Farming dust. A tractor leaves a trail of dust on a Bundaberg farm.
Farming dust. A tractor leaves a trail of dust on a Bundaberg farm.

Bundaberg’s driest spring in decades

AFTER enduring the driest spring in two decades, Bundaberg farmers are waiting with bated breath for the annual “wet season”.

But if the latest forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology is anything to go by it’s not good news with a drier and hotter than average summer predicted. A mere 53.8mm was recorded throughout the entire spring season by BoM at the airport. The last time it was close to the current lack of rain was in 2011 when 70.6mm fell.

According to the Bureau’s climate outlook, January to March 2020 daytime temperatures are very likely to be above average across Australia and likewise for our night-time temperatures in the southeast.

Bundaberg cane farmer Mark Pressler said they needed rain yesterday.

Mr Pressler said their spring slanting had been delayed for cane and peanuts because of the dry spell.

“It’s been very serious, I’ve never seen it this dry,” he said.

“But what can you do?”

Mr Pressler said he was lucky enough to get some of the water from Paradise Dam, but if they didn’t get rain soon, allocations would be pretty dismal next year.

With a dire outlook for the region’s rainfall, Mr Pressler said he wanted to see reinstatement of water capacity that was lost with the lowering of Paradise Dam; whether that’s through the construction of another dam or topping more weirs, he said they couldn’t go backwards with water allocation.

BoM’s head of long-range forecasts Dr Andrew Watkins said the key culprit for the nation’s current and expected conditions was one of the strongest positive Indian Ocean Dipole events on record. “The positive IOD means we’re also expecting a delayed onset for the northern monsoon, one of the key drivers for tropical rainfall during the summer months. “At this stage we’re expecting the onset of the northern monsoon by midsummer, which should see the odds for closer to average rainfall increasing from January and into February.”



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