REVEALED: Grazier's secret to surviving hot, dry summers in CQ
ALF Collins knows Australia is mostly desert and understands Central Queensland is going to have more than it's fair share of dry periods.
But the Marlborough man says his job as a grazier is to manage the climate which is thrown his way.
Which is why the absence of rain doesn't keep Alf up at night.
"I accept that we live on a very very dry continent and I accepted that 56 years ago,” he said.
"I decided I would breed animals adapted to that environment.”
Alf has two family properties located north or Rocky, Belah Valley and Kelso, both of which are located on prime agricultural land.
Over the years, he has developed timetables which run strictly on the clock to ensure everything happens as planned to ensure his management of property (stock and all) is top notch.
Alf insists all his planning has put him in a position which allows him to look to the long term instead of worrying about short term problems, such as lack of rain.
"There is no point worrying about the things that are short term, the long term thing is that it will rain,” he said.
"If it doesn't rain between now and Christmas then you just manage according to that and inevitably it will rain every year at some time.
"All our thinking is long term and whether it doesn't rain for six months or 10 months it doesn't matter much, we can't change that.
"What we can change is our scrub density and our marketing program, we can manage all that but we can't manage weather.”
Alf said the rain obviously affected him and his property to a certain degree but noticed people around him often seemed more concerned with what the weather was doing than he was.
"They (people around me) seem to worry about the weather more than I do, I don't worry about the weather too much,” he said.
"The most important things to remember are; to use adapted animals, shrubs and bushes, and to have animals that can utilise those things which occur naturally, then the rest is easy,” Alf said.
"The other thing is to have a timely management program like in our instance 80% of our cows are already weaned and laying on fat for the dry season to come.
"We don't have late calving seasons, we have early calves so that we can handle it, the danger of a failed wet season or a long dry.
"Breed cattle early, wean fast and use the bit of feed you have in the summer to lay fat on the cows.
"If the animals are adapted they will take care of the rest.”
SUMMER SEASON WRAP UP
MOST of Capricornia and Central Highlands are "drier than average” according to the Rockhampton Weather Bureau.
Acting Office Manager Benji Blunt said there had been high temperatures across the region over the summer, with some CQ towns even breaking the records for the driest summers.
- The Bureau of Meteorology weather station in Thangool has recorded it's driest summer on record since 1924 at 69.8mm of rainfall for the whole season.
- Rocky had 116mm of rain over the summer, the average is 382mm.
- Yeppoon at 98.6mm is well short of it's 608mm average for summer.