70% chance of an El Nino for region but producer not worried

The Bureau of Meteorology now predicting a 70% chance of an El Nino
The Bureau of Meteorology now predicting a 70% chance of an El Nino

FLOODS and droughts - they're the stuff of nightmares for struggling farmers.   

With the Bureau of Meteorology now predicting a 70% chance of an El Nino, those weather events might be increasingly common.  

But Morinish producer Ken Rutherford, who runs Redskin Droughtmaster Stud, is not concerned.   

He said he is lucky to be located relatively close to the coast, but also believes careful management of pastures and stock numbers can help minimise the effects of extreme weather events.   

"We start destocking and selling cattle in July to get stock down to a reasonable number," he said. 

"We've probably been a bit spoilt for the last couple of years with good weather patterns.  

"At this stage we're in better shape that we are normally at this time of year, we're pretty lucky here.  

"I think now we're going back to the previous dry weather patterns."

An alert is currently in place, with the Bureau suggesting the El Nino threshold will be exceeded by August. 

Ken said it was still possible to get some useful rainfall during El Nino, it just depends on what time of year it falls.

"If we get some rain in June before winter it would be very good," he said. 

"The biggest problem in spring and summer is if you don't get good summer rains … El Nino can hurt you then if you go through to Christmas without summer storms."

They kill everything that is in good enough condition to be graded to ensure they don't go into winter carrying excess stock. 

Next month they will preg test their cows and also kill those not in calf, with others heading into a fattening ring. 

The Fitzroy River runs through their property for 22km. 

This year they have seen several minor floods of four to five metres, not enough to put their pastures under water.   

Topics:  bureau of meteorology el nino weather