Goldfields, Belyando producers welcome wet start to 2021

Positive start to 2021 for Burdekin, Goldfields graziers

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The Gilbert River crossing on the Gulf Development Road between Croydon and Georgetown, taken by Kath Green on Thursday. It's the first time the river has been over the crossing in two years.

The Gilbert River crossing on the Gulf Development Road between Croydon and Georgetown, taken by Kath Green on Thursday. It's the first time the river has been over the crossing in two years.

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The Roaring 2020s have had a storming start for cattle producers in the Belyando-Mt Coolon region and further north in the Goldfields, thanks to a rain influence that gathered pace at Christmas.

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The Roaring 2020s have had a storming start for cattle producers in the Belyando-Mt Coolon region and further north in the Goldfields, thanks to a rain influence that gathered pace at Christmas.

Speaking from Llanarth Station in the Burdekin catchment around Twin Hills, Natalie Kenny said there was heaps of water flowing since storms began on Christmas Day.

"We had an inch the week before Christmas and 200mm since," she said. "Creeks are running, dams are bywashing, it's all good."

Her brother Graham Heelan, who lives at Pasha north east of Clermont and who operates Suttor Heli Services, said the rain had filled in a fair few gaps for graziers in the region.

"A lot have been running on 14 inches the past few years, when our average is around 22 inches."

From his vantage point helping to clear cattle out of the Suttor River system ahead of the water coming down, he said people were in for a medium sized flood.

"Everyone is pretty positive, this is the earliest start to the season we've had up here for the last few years," he said. "Most have had a small start so the grass will respond."

A similar view was expressed by Charters Towers mayor Frank Beveridge who said all creeks in the region had a good run in them.

"Two weeks ago the Burdekin had nearly dried up, now it's not quite a banker," he said. "We foresee it being two to three metres over the weir in the next week."

He said that as usual, while some properties had recorded a quarter of their year's rainfall in one night this week, others had only had 20 to 30mm.

"Don't forget, the wet season hasn't started," he said. "We don't get big rain until the cyclones start."

Cr Beveridge said the good thing about this week's falls was that soaking rain had come before any flooding rain, meaning the latter wouldn't do as much damage.

In the Moranbah area Blair and Josie Angus had recorded 160mm at Kimberley and Sondella, which Josie described as "bloody glorious".

She said that meant they'd had their average for the year now.

The rainfall total at Ruan Station totalled 230mm for December and owners Owen and Lee Scott said they had a grin from ear to ear.

"It's been a long time coming," Mr Scott said. "We're way below our average, we'd had about 10 inches for the whole year."

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To the north, the Gilbert River was flowing over the crossing on the Gulf Development Road between Croydon and Georgetown for the first time in around two years thanks to good falls in the area.

Colleen Henry at Riverview Station 40km west of Georgetown reported on the Who Got the Rain Facebook page that they'd had two falls of 100mm and 109mm this week, while the Ryan family at Green Hills Station had measured 83mm and said it was still raining.

At Gilberton Station, Einasleigh, Lyn French announced 99mm of rain on December 29 and falls of 28mm and 30mm since, saying it was continuing to rain.

A birds-eye view of the Gilbert River at Gilberton earlier in the week.

A birds-eye view of the Gilbert River at Gilberton earlier in the week.

At Rocky View Station, Georgetown, Kathy Green and Robbie Lethbridge have had 350mm for the month to date.

According to Mr Lethbridge, they'd managed to get under some falls from October onwards, which had put them in a decent position feed-wise.

Cr Beveridge said there was a lot of optimism in his area, especially with continuing high commodity prices.

"I think we've every reason to expect a better than average season," he said. "We're all happy to see the last of 2020."

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