AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Best rainfall in seven years to boost crops and cattle prices

<p>Significant rainfall across parts of southwest Queensland, western New South Wales and Victoria has provided welcome relief to drought-stricken farmers and could boost cattle prices.</p> <p>A band of hail storms and heavy rainfall hit many parts of western NSW around Broken Hill and Wilcannia yesterday (Thursday, May 17), dropping more than 50-70 mm in some areas.</p> <p>A farmer said the ground in his area was blanketed in hail larger than golf balls. </p> <p>It is the best rainfall for central NSW in seven years.</p> <p>It signals an important boost to the state’s troubled economy.</p> <p>The Bureau of Meteorology predicts that another 25-50 mm could fall in parts of central-western NSW today, while Victorian and Queensland farmers can also expect some welcome rainfall.</p> <p>The rain will boost crops that have already been planted, encourage other farmers to plant now while the soil is moist and replenish farm dams.</p> <p>Cattle prices should also be boosted as graziers will now be able to feed and breed more livestock.</p> <p>The ABC reports that some dirt roads in the rain-soaked areas of NSW are closed.</p> <p>ABARE figures show that summer crop production fell by 60% in 2006&#4707, dropping to the lowest production levels in 20 years.</p> <p>Just 1.9m tonnes was expected to be produced because of sustained drought conditions across southern Queensland, northern NSW and NSW’s Riverina region.</p> <p>Road transporters, rural freight train services and other agriculture-dependant business has also been hit hard with minimal volumes to move to ports or the domestic market.</p> <br />