Greener pastures in Parkes as farmer takes photos 225 days apart

GREENER PASTURES: Craig Armstrong took these two photos from the same place on the farm 'Kiah
GREENER PASTURES: Craig Armstrong took these two photos from the same place on the farm 'Kiah" on the Henry Parkes Way 225 days apart.

The photos say it all.

"What a difference 225 days and rain makes," farmer Craig Armstrong said.

Overflowing dams, chest-high crops and green grass as far as the eye can see was unimaginable for some in the NSW Central West town of Parkes just a few months ago.

Farmers across the state have been doing it tough with three years of drought, empty dams and starving stock, but how things have changed.

Well above average rainfall in the region so far this year has buoyed farmers' hopes and transformed the landscape.

Craig took these two photos from the same place on the property he works "Kiah", located 14 kilometres east of Parkes on the Henry Parkes Way.

The drought photo, on the left above, was taken on Tuesday, December 31, 2019.

The photo on the right was taken last Wednesday, August 12 this year.

Parkes received six times more rain in the first half of 2020 than it did in the six months before that.

Between January and June in 2020 the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) measured 471.6mm of rain.

Just 73.6mm was recorded in Parkes between July and December last year.

Parkes' average annual rainfall total is 622.2mm.

The town only measured 229.8mm in all of 2019 and 328.4mm in 2018.

Currently 76.8 per cent of the Central West is no longer in drought, while in the Central Tableands it's a little lower at 31.1 per cent, data from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) shows.

In the Orange LGA, 100 per cent of the land is still classed by the DPI as drought-affected.

An animation over three years of the state's drought map, released by the DPI, shows how quickly the drought took hold - and how consistent rain since February is slowly taking back the dry ground.

The animation of the Combined Drought Indicator (CDI) since 2017 gives a powerful graphic of how the drought fell on all of NSW in an unrelenting way.

Mapping shows how the drought took hold - and now declining

It also shows how in the last few months many regions are recovering.

The signs are positive for further good seasonal conditions for the rest of the year, according to the DPI seasonal conditions co-ordinator Scott Wallace.

This story What a difference 225 days - and some rain - makes first appeared on Parkes Champion-Post.