In the last five years, Paul Adam, Dysart, Tottenham has been "smoked" by drought, "smoked" by frost and "smoked" by hail, so last year to get "smoked" by consistent rain was a very welcome alternative.
Although some of his canola and wheat crops were downgraded, it was a huge turnaround getting 668mm in 2021, a lot better than the measly 125mm recorded for the whole of 2019 at the height of the drought.
He says he's got "60 per cent" of this year's yield already just sitting there in the full profile of wet topsoil. Things are looking really up, probably for at least a few years.
It ended in heartache for many croppers, but 2021 brought unbelievable joy to some, especially cottongrowers, and rainfall records were broken throughout the state.
It was a huge turnaround from the devastating drought, a hauntingly close memory for many farmers, one of the worst, if not the worst drought, since Federation.
Some of the records broken as the wettest year in NSW in 2021 were:
The State's wettest was place was on the Comboyne Plateau at Mt Seaview, where the gauge was almost full at the end of each week last year.
It was even the wettest year at Mt Seaview in 60 years with 3867mm recorded, 197 per cent of its annual average.
Nearby on the Mid North Coast, that suffered damaging floods in March, it was the wettest year in 58 years and second wettest in more than 140 years in Wingham (1988mm, 179 percent of its annual average) and Taree (2081mm, 177 percent).
The driest area was the state's Far West where rainfall typically amounted to less than 80 per cent of the annual average. Several places, including Fowlers Gap (227mm) and Lake Victoria (190mm) had a drier year the 2020 but a wetter one then 2017-2019, according to Weatherzone's Brett Dutschke, who compiled these figures for The Land.
Here's an interactive map of some of the rain records. Just click on the town and find out how long a rainfall record it was:
Ben Nicholls, Burdenda Station, Tottenham, where rainfall records have been kept for 130 years, says it was one of the wettest years recorded there with 637mm, compared to 570mm in 2020 and just 158mm in 2019.
Mr Nicholls crops wheat, oats, barely, lupins and runs sheep and cattle across 14,100 hectares and has other land at Nyngan. He said Tottenham had a fantastic year and both crops and livestock had done well, and there had been little downgrading of crops mainly at Nyngan.
"It really just kept raining the whole way through last year," Mr Nicholls said. "It allowed us to do everything we wanted, it just meant the crops were easier to sow, but harder to strip.
"We had soil moisture the whole way through. We got everything off okay, there was some downgraded but the canola was good. All the stock including the cattle have done well."
Ironically, amid the great wet, Tottenham officially had less rain in 2021 than 2020.
According to Weatherzone, Tottenham in 2020 had 681mm, wetter than 2021, 649mm, but 2020-2021 (1330mm) was its wettest two years since 1983-1984 (1455mm) - so that was a unique record.
Paul Adam said he had to walk away from his crops in 2019 things got so bad.
But this year, despite the downgrading, it's been a good year with higher grain prices helping mitigate the loss of quality caused by rain at harvest time.
Of the 668mm recorded at Dysart, 189mm came in one event in November.
"All I can say it is better than a drought," Mr Adam said. "It's still one of the best seasons we've had. It's not even comparable to the drought. We got smoked by frost in 2017 and smoked by other things in following years including hail." In 2018, it was hit and miss and despite getting the canola up in 2019, eventually they had to walk away from the crop.
Now they have a full profile of soil moisture at Dysart. "About 60 per cent of our yield is attributable to summer rainfall, so 60 per cent is just sitting there in the paddocks."
Mr Adam is also Tottenham manager for Delta Ag, busy this week moving fert for this year's district crops.
"It's all pretty positive."
While Condobolin recorded its biggest rain in 2021, some in the area said it was patchy. Paul Sanderson, Arundel, said his rainfall was mixed during the year, while north of Condobolin, Ros Patton at Mogandale, 25km north of Condobolin said it was a very wet year, with most crops downgraded due to the record rain.
Both properties have been busy Kelly chaining getting ready for this year's crops.
"What we thought we had and what we ended up with, were two very different things," Mrs Patton said.
"Fortunately the grain prices remained high." The Pattons said they tried to spread their risk by growing canola, oats, barley and lucerne.
They were restocking on the back of good feed after the rain, after losing a large part of their core stock in the drought, but because of high prices were looking for cheaper alternatives, and had sourced some Droughtmaster cross cattle (120 heifers) from Katherine in the Northern Territory.
Rain on or near Anzac Day will be the critical date on whether to plant canola.
Rain had been very heavy south of Condobolin towards Ungarie.
On the Mid North Coast, near the wettest place Mt Seaview, over three metres of rain fell for the year for avocado farmers Ernst and Penny Tiedeman at Comboyne, who said the record rain came with very mixed blessings. They were unable to pick their blueberry crop and their avocado harvest has been delayed because they can't get into the orchard.
They lost a lot of farm infrastructure including creek crossings, 2km of irrigation pipes, flooded pumps, roads washed out, and also 300-400 avocado trees due to disease because of phytophthora root rot after the heavy rain.
"We'd rather have the rain than a drought but it hasn't been easy," Penny Tiedeman said. "We are also worried about the fruit set for next year from the rain."
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