Annual rainfall and its distribution influence pasture growth. To review your annual rainfall pattern, graph your own average, long-term rainfall figures, or to find long term rainfall information, visit the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) Climate Data Online website.

In ‘1: Selected: Monthly climate statistics’ section, for the first dropdown menu ‘Data about’ choose ‘Weather & climate’, then in ‘Type of data’ click ‘Monthly’ in the ‘Statistics’ area. Then select your relevant weather station and click ‘Get Data’. See example in Figure 8.1.

Figure 8.1: Example BOM Climate Data Online search page. Source: Bureau of Meteorology.

When the results load, in the ‘Rainfall’ section, click the Plot icon at the far right of the table to graph your Decile 5 (median) rainfall (mm) as shown in Figure 8.2.

Figure 8.2: Example of where to access Decile 5 rainfall monthly climate statistics. Source: Bureau of Meteorology.

What does the annual rainfall pattern look like in your district? Can your existing pastures use the rain whenever it falls? Could pasture types with growth patterns different to those of your current pasture types fill some seasonal feed gaps in response to rain?

See below examples (Figure 8.3) of median 5 rainfall in Dubbo NSW and Kojonup WA. The rainfall in Dubbo is historically evenly distributed across the year, so sheep producers could grow green feed almost all year round in response to rain, but this is much less likely at Kojonup with winter dominant rainfall.

Figure 8.3 Median rainfall at Dubbo NSW (left) and Kojonup WA (right). Source: Bureau of Meteorology.