Wendy and Graham Motley, farmers at Plainby excited about rain. The farm has been in the family since 1930 and Graham has the rainfall records dating back to 1885. Picture: Bev Lacey
Wendy and Graham Motley, farmers at Plainby excited about rain. The farm has been in the family since 1930 and Graham has the rainfall records dating back to 1885. Picture: Bev Lacey

Farmer’s bold prediction for drought-busting rain

FOR the past two years, Plainby farmer Graham Motley watched as his property dried to brittle under the weight of drought.

All the while he held hope rain would return to his part of the Darling Downs.

Mr Motley found solace in his property's weather records dating back to 1895.

They showed the previous extreme droughts had been followed by bumper seasons, and if the past three weeks are anything to go by, Mr Motley reckons 2020 will be wet.

"The 1918 and 1919 seasons were the two driest years on record, and we just had an exact replica of that happening again with 2018 and 2019," he said.

"There is only a few inches difference in the two sets of years, and they are exactly 100 years apart."

The post-World War I period marked the start of two decades of above average rainfall.

Mr Motley's cattle farm received more than 150mm since New Year's Day, and if the Bureau of Meteorology forecast comes true, the total will climb in the coming days.

"Call it climate change, or call it what you will, but I think we are in for a good few years," Mr Motley said.

"You see in your records the same pattern throughout all those years, but I have looked at the charts a lot in the past 12 months thinking, 'Will it rain again?'"

Not all producers are as optimistic.

Brookstead farmer David Baily said more rain was needed to repair the land.

As of yesterday he had about 130mm of rain.

"It is all still going in the ground; we have had such a prolonged drought the country is continually taking in the water," he said.

"We have had no run-off."

Still, the past three weeks yielded more rain than in all of 2019.

"We could certainly do with another 150-100mm of this gentle, soft, soaking rain," Mr Baily said.

"The BOM is saying it could hang around for another four or five days.

"We just have to hope and pray that it does."