The year the rain came: 2020 weather wrap up

Moculta farmer, Ian Koch with one of the BIGG weather stations.

The Bureau of Meteorology released its Annual Climate Statement last Friday, naming 2020 as Australia’s fourth warmest year on record.

South Australia experienced several warm months, including its hottest November on record, but also recorded its coolest May since 2006.

Rainfall was close to average across large areas of the state, with several dry months “offset” by a wetter than average end of winter and start of spring.

Moculta farmer and Barossa Improved Grazing Group Chairman, Ian Koch said 2020 would be remembered as a year rain returned.

“We are so grateful it started to rain again, that was a good thing,” he said.

“Certainly it was a lot better year than the previous three. We were lucky enough to have an early start but then it did get really dry at the end of July, beginning of August. The pastures, particularly in the grazing country, just about died.”

Fortunately the rain returned during August, and the season finished with good results.

“We did have our best bean crop we’ve ever grown and probably some of our best wheat crops for about ten years,” he said.

While more rain was a welcome sight in 2020, rainfall was slightly under average; Nuriootpa recorded 455.8mm, 9.5mm less than the annual average of 465.3mm.

Eudunda recorded 430.5mm (445.9mm average), while Roseworthy had 336.8mm (378.3mm average) for the year.

“I suppose a lot of people talked about how wet it was but it wasn’t even normally wet,” observed Ian.

“It was certainly wetter than what it has been, but nothing like 2016, that was 24 or 25 inches.”

According to BOM’s report, 2020 was South Australia’s coolest year since 2016, with the mean temperature 0.7C above the long term average.

The top recorded maximum temperature for Nuriootpa was 43.5C on January 30, and the coolest minimum -0.3C on June 10.

Ian, who keeps keen track of the weather and soil conditions via an app connected to one of four weather stations managed by Barossa Improved Grazing Group, is hopeful 2021 brings at least average conditions.

“I’d take average any day of the week!” he said. 

“A nice early start, somewhere around ANZAC Day would be fantastic and just keep it steadily going all the year would be nice.”

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