News State NT News Rain in Red Centre turns outback to green

Rain in Red Centre turns outback to green

Joella Klein/ABC
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A month of consistent rainfall has transformed the usually arid environment of the Red Centre into a carpet of green.

Local pastoralists were happy with the fortuitous start to the season, with one saying it was the best rainfall they had seen since 2010.

Wally Klein, who runs Orange Creek station, a cattle property about 100 kilometres south of Alice Springs, said he was delighted with the higher-than-average rainfall in the past month.

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“We had the best Christmas present ever, it actually rained for us and the river ran,” Mr Klein said.

There has been further rain and unusually cool weather since.

Joella and Wally Klein in front of the full dam on Orange Creek station in Central Australia. Photo: ABC

“We’ve only had a couple of days in the high 30s; normally we’re over 40 every day,” Mr Klein said.

The weather has had a stunning impact on the Central Australian landscape.

“It’s absolutely fantastic to see how the country responds, the grass is just leaping out of the ground and we’ve still got a couple more rainy months to go yet,” Mr Klein said.

Cattle prices soared with greater demand for live exports from our Asian counterparts and Mr Klein said he could not believe all his “ducks [were] lining up in a row”.

“It’s the first time that I can remember that we’ve got low interest, low fuel prices, really good cattle prices and now a good season to go with it,” he said.

“It’s very rare that you get everything to happen for you at once.”

The fortuitous start to the season gave Mr Klein and other pastoralists in the region much needed hope and he expected his stock to double in value over the next couple of months.

Scott Pullyblank with a carpet python, one of the animals set to benefit from the increase in rain activity in the Red Centre. Photo: ABC

Mr Klein also hoped to open his property up for agistment opportunities.

“It puts a bit of heart back into the job and keeps us going,” he said.

“We sold a lot of cattle last year for pretty ordinary sort of money, because they were pretty ordinary cattle, with no weight in them.”

The wet conditions will also help Mr Klein with other income streams, including his lucerne farm.

The humidity and moisture in the ground will allow him to cut hay every three weeks.

He expects to have enough hay to last him the whole year.

Snakes, insects come out to play in wet conditions

But it was not just the pastoralists who were happy with the unusually wet conditions.

Wildlife in Central Australia also reacted well.

Scott Pullyblank, curator of Life Science at the Alice Springs Desert Park, said local residents would notice a big increase in the number of insects.

“There will be a lot of Yipirinya caterpillar around and the Yipirinya moth will follow later in the year,” he said.

Native birds, small mammals and reptiles will thrive in the damp conditions, Mr Pullyblank said.

“Birds and snakes will be a lot more active; when we get rain like this there will be more food and it’ll extend their breeding season,” he said.

“We’ll see more creatures such as the Plains mice, long-haired rats and even the central Australian rock rat.”

Joella Klein/ABC
Rain on the track at Orange Creek station. Photo: Joella Klein/ABC


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