Cattle supply tightens as rain forces sale cancellation

James Nason, 08/12/2011

Rainfall recorded across Australia in the past week.Widespread rainfall has caused a further tightening of cattle supply this week, with today’s Roma prime cattle sale cancelled due to extensive rainfall and flash flooding in the Maranoa region in recent days.

Wet conditions also contributed a dramatic reduction in the size of the yarding at Dalby yesterday, where agents yarded 3571 cattle, 1571 less than the previous week.

The large Dubbo sale in NSW has not been as affected, however, with agents drawing for 3800 head and yarding an estimated 3500 when the sale kicked off this morning.

Summer is only week old but already it has delivered timely rainfall relief to large parts of northern and eastern Australia after a drier than normal November.

Falls generated by a cold front and low pressure trough mid-last week exceeded 50mm across much of northern and central Queensland, the northern most parts of WA and the NT, and along the northern border of NSW and around the ACT. Falls of 5-25mm were also recorded in many surrounding areas.

In the past few days a low pressure system off the Queensland coast has brought further rain and thunderstorms to southern Queensland, while two more troughs have brought rainfall to eastern NSW and showers and storms over eastern WA, western SA and the NT.

Some parts of WA have recorded torrential falls in the past 24 hours, with Hyden recording 105mm, the area’s highest daily rainfall in at least 83 years.
Narambeen in the Central Wheatbelt received 97mm, its wettest December day in at least 84 years.

Weatherzone said the rain was triggered by a slow moving low pressure system which has drawn in large quantities of moisture from the Indian Ocean.

Southern WA is expected to pick up further showers today.

In eastern Australian, the Weather Channel senior forecaster Dick Whitaker expects rain to ease to showers today. Conditions are expected to be generally dry tomorrow before shower activity ramps up on the weekend in Queensland and into Monday.

“Six day rainfall totals in excess of 100mm are likely along the Queensland coast from Tweed Heads to Rockhampton; including the Brisbane area with river rises and possible flooding the result,” Mr Whitaker said.

Roma in western Queensland experienced flash flooding last night after 50mm fell in less than one hour. Further west at Mitchell the Maranoa River has cut off several properties. 

With the wet start to summer has also come one of the coldest starts to the season in decades.

Temperatures have dropped to unseasonal lows after a mass of cold air from the Southern Ocean was pushed north behind a cold front. The cold air travelled north through NSW and southern Queensland on Monday and combined with cloud cover to keep temperatures as much as 17c lower than average.

Latest forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology suggest the wet start is likely to continue into summer.

The bureau said La Niña conditions strengthened across the tropical Pacific Basin during November and is likely peak during the next month and remain at least until the end of summer.

The current SOI value of +15 is the highest level since the breakdown of the 2010-11 La Nina in May 2011.

The bureau said that while La Nina patterns have become more clearly defined over the past month, the La Niña remains weaker than at the same time in 2010.

The biggest falls recorded across each state during the past seven days were:
WA: Wyndham 124 mm (North Kimberley); Mt Krauss 87 mm (East Kimberley);  Windjana Gorge 80 mm (West Kimberley)
NT: Jabiru 130 mm (Darwin-Daly); Noonamah 115 mm (Darwin-Daly); Alyangula 105 mm (Arnhem)
SA: Mt Gambier 24 mm (Lower Southeast); Nangwarry 19 mm (Lower Southeast); Kalangadoo  17 mm (Lower Southeast)
Qld: Bingil Bay 212 mm (Herbert); Mutarnee 210 mm (Herbert); Hawkins Creek 203 mm (Herbert)
NSW/ACT: Mt Ginini 93 mm (Goulburn-Monaro);  Croppa Creek 89 mm (Northwest Plains); Captains Flat 73 mm (Goulburn-Monaro)
Vic:  Mt Baw Baw 50 mm (West Gippsland); Mt Delegate 49 mm (East Gippsland); Mt Nowa Nowa 43 mm (East Gippsland).
Tas: Mt Read 77 mm (West Coast); Lake Margaret 62 mm (West Coast); Eaglehawk Neck 55 mm (Southeast)


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