This week's rain will set farmers up well for autumn but won't bring an immediate end to supplementary feeding, says a farming group.
Tablelands Farming Systems (TFS), which owns and manages more than 65,000 hectares of farmland in the region, has 11 soil moisture probes across the Southern Tablelands region that are showing positive results from this week's drenching.
Executive officer Tracy Watson said Gunning, Bannister and Bungonia were standouts with rainfall of more than 70mm each over the past week. Bannister had received over 140mm, which was penetrating more than 60cm into the soil profile.
"Areas to the west and east of Goulburn and as far over as Bannister have done very well out of the rain, but further east didn't do as well. It's more patchy," Ms Watson said.
Rugby, for example, only received 25mm up until Monday. But whereas Gunning previously missed out, this time the region scored over 70mm that seeped 40cm into the soil at the Collingwood property probe, where granite soils prevail.
At Taralga, which has recorded more than 270mm since Saturday, the probe at Wowagin, 9km west of the town showed 100 per cent moisture penetrating to 50cm.
The Laggan probe, 18km north of Crookwell, registered more than 90mm since Saturday and revealed saturation to 20cm and 63pc moisture level to 60cm depth in the shale/slate soil.
Ms Watson said before the rain, only a few pockets of the Tablelands were showing moisture but now it was more widespread in the soil profile.
While there were variable growth conditions at play, she anticipated it could be some weeks before pasture came through.
"Graziers will be continuing with supplementary feeding for some time," she said.
"It doesn't take that away but it's a lot more fun doing it while watching the grass grow."
About 25 of the 150 farmers TFS represents gathered at Gunning property, Merrill, last Thursday in anticipation of the rain. The Group's agronomy advisers were on hand to review pasture growth models, based on rainfall scenarios.
The probes provide real time data and help with decision making about pasture and stocking rates. The collaborative project with the CSIRO will be launched in April.
The so-called Next Generation Forecasting, part of the CSIRO's digital agriculture initiative, combines weather and pasture forecasts with the probes' moisture data.
Gunning producer and TFS chair Charles Knight described it as a gamechanger in terms of predicting pasture growth. He hosts one of the probes on his property, Collingwood.
"While we don't know what rain we will get, using moisture probes and current pasture levels to give us an accurate starting point, and combining with rainfall probabilities going forward, gives us the best achievable insight into the months ahead," he said on Thursday.
"Having this information continually updated and delivered to our phone, tablet or laptop is of enormous value to our businesses, and helps us do a better job looking after our land and animals."
ALSO READ: Public schools maintain $4m
Ms Watson said while Thursday's attendees were down about the fire season and drought, there was also optimism about the impending rain and many were planning ahead.
She described autumn as a critical decision-making time. With many graziers down to core breeding stock, they would have to decide numbers that pasture could support on the road to recovery.
"We're hoping for near-average rainfall in autumn," Ms Watson said.
"...This rain has been a positive turnaround but we need good follow-up falls. Water supply had been one of the biggest issues and many farmers had to make emergency provisions but now they have water in their dams. It gives them flexibility."
Meantime, Goulburn airport registered 5.6mm on Monday, 11mm on Tuesday, 9.2mm on Wednesday and 11mm up until 9am Thursday. The city has received 91.4mm in February, Bureau of Meteorology data showed. Taralga has scored 336.3mm for the month, Bungonia 94mm to 102mm, Gunning - 83.6mm and Lake Bathurst - 83mm.
The Bureau is predicting falls of 1mm to 5mm for Goulburn on most days right up until next Wednesday.
While you're with us...
Did you know the Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up here.