Tom Woods thinks the rain on his farm over the past two days may be enough to turn around his year.
“Only about two weeks ago we had about 55 mm, then we’ve had 40 mm just over the last few days,” the 22-year-old farmer said.
“We put the summer spuds in June, which we have been flat out watering until these beautiful rains have come through.
“We won’t have to water them until harvest. And it looks like a bumper crop.”
The drought has put extra pressure on the bottom line of Mr Wood’s vegetable farm, located to the east of Maitland in Pitnacree.
“From about November last year all the way through until now we haven’t seen much decent rainfall,” he said. “It got to the point I couldn’t water my hay nor plant my crops because of salinity issues in the river.
“And we had a bad run with the cabbage season this year because the prices were terrible.”
The 30 mm of rain Maitland received between Thursday and Friday mornings, has given Mr Wood renewed hope for the 15 acres of potatoes he will harvest in November. “It’s just come in at the right time when the spuds are starting to flower,” he said.
The Bureau of Meteorology said a trough brought widespread rains throughout the state on Thursday and Friday, with “almost all” observation points recording some rainfall.
Coastal areas saw the heaviest rains. Awaba notched 93mm in less than 48 hours to 6pm last night, with more than 80mm at Wangi and Awaba. Parts of Newcastle recorded 67mm.
Further inland the deluge was not so consistent. While areas of the Hunter like Dungog, Paterson, Carrowbrook and Barrington Tops received heavy falls before midday on Friday, towns further west were lucky to see a few millimetres. “It’s overcast but it’s not raining. We certainly seemed to have missed out,” Ron Campbell of Merriwa said.
Mr Campbell and his two sons Peter and Mark are currently feeding 200 cattle and 2000 ewes on their mixed livestock farm. “We really need 50 mm of rain and then some follow up rain to get some decent feed. It's getting to the stage where everything’s been fed off,” he said.
Angus beef farmer Nicole Hannah said her property in Gundy only received 6 mm. The farm has recently destocked from 250 to 80 cattle.
“We did it in the last couple of weeks, we can’t afford to pay for hay anymore,” he said. “Friends out at Dubbo got over 60 mm so that’s good.”
Mr Woods hoped the rainfall would increase the hay supply in NSW. “We produce a fair bit in Maitland so hopefully that will help around.”