While it wasn’t much, Kangaroo Valley received it’s first rainfall for the month overnight.
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While only a few millimeters of rainfall reached the valley, it was welcomed by dairy farmers, who have described the past 18 months as the driest period in memory.
Locals have reported that parts of the Valley received up to 8mm since Friday.
Kangaroo Valley dairy farmer Gavin Chittick said it was nice to know “that it could still rain”, but that a lot more was still needed.
“It was really lovely to see this rain but it hasn’t changed things much,” he said.
“The pressure is still on but it’s really nice to get this and I’m grateful.”
Chittick Holsteins is a third-generation dairy farm, which Gavin has been managing for the past five years after talking over from his father.
While the weekend rain isn’t enough to lift the pressure, Gavin said it would give the grass a boost.
“We lay seeds for our rye grass in autumn which is we use in winter and spring,” he said.
“But because there’s been no rain we haven’t seen much happen since we planted last year.
“What’s encouraging is that there are still seeds around the paddock and this rain will wake them up.”
Gavin’s cows are predominately hand fed at the moment, but some are on irrigated paddocks.
“It’s pretty bad at the moment, we really need another five or so inches [of rain] to really lift things,” he said.
“It’s getting to the point where our hay carrier is getting worried about supply. If he’s getting concerned then we are in a pretty bad way.”
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, there are roughly equal chances of a wetter or drier than average Spring for the region, meaning there is no strong indication either way that it will be particularly wet or dry.
While the rain has stopped for now, there are chances of slight showers toward the end of the week.
And though the drought may have a crippling hold on the Kangaroo Valley community, so does kindness.
“People have been ringing up just to check in and say they are thinking of us which has just been lovely,” Gavin said.
“When you’re working on a farm and it can pretty lonely, to know people are thinking about is pretty special.”
Last month, the Kangaroo Valley community opened the Kangaroo Valley Agricultural Support Fund, in an effort to preserve and assist the dairy farming culture in the valley.
The fund has been set up as a sub-branch of the Lions Club and will assist in funding agricultural projects and farmers in the valley.
If you’d like to donate to the fund, transfer to BSB: 633 000 ACC NUMBER: 139 378 632.
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