Spanish diviner predicts seven months no rain in 2020
Antonio Perez once bet a million dollars he could accurately predict the weather.
"The Country Life newspaper bloke used to do the predictions; I told him I'd give him a million dollars if it rained the time he said it would.
"I gave them another date in June and when it started to rain that very day, the editor rang me and offered me the job."
Mr Perez declined the offer of a professional career in weather forecasting, to focus on his pigs, cattle, horses and goats on a property outside Marlborough.
The Spanish-born grazier bought the land 32 years ago after many different jobs around rural Queensland.
"Robert Menzies bought me from the Spanish government for 20 pounds," Mr Perez said.
"I started off cutting cane in Innisfail and I ended up as a technical trainer in the power station outside Gladstone.
He recently invested in a 70-tonne piece of Caterpillar machinery to drill through the rock on his property, to access to the spring water below.
"It's very good water for drinking, maybe 10 to 15 inches deep," he said.
He's also started weeding out his horned beasts in exchange for more docile animals.
He added another 100 heifers - "whatever breed I can get cheap" - to his 500-strong herd in the last few weeks.
"This little Droughtmaster bull I got, he likes to rest his head on my shoulder and lick my ears."
But he's having difficulty offloading his pigs, which number about a thousand.
"They've been importing cheap pork from Denmark, which is fed on recycled sewage, and no-one wants to eat that," he said.
"You go to the butchers and the imported pork has been there so long it's dried out.
"It's given pork a bad name so people aren't willing to pay a decent price for pigs."
Between the cheap imports and drought, it could prove tempting for a Queensland farmer to sell up and move on.
Mr Perez said he's had a lot of interest in his land from both Asian and Canadian companies.
"The Canadians offered me millions after they found minerals on the land, but capital gains tax would swallow most of it up," he said.
"There's so much chromium, gold and copper in my water you could almost cut it with a knife."
But for now, he's focused on getting to his spring water before what he predicts will be a horribly dry 2020.
"There'll be a little bit of rain mid-January and a few showers February," he said.
"But from the end of March until September there'll be no rain at all.
"Unless there's a volcanic eruption somewhere, which changes the atmosphere, there'll be no rain next year for the best part of seven months."