THE year 2018 will be remembered as a time of drought.
But it was a year like no other in terms of prices.
Just about all of the mainstay commodities either achieved a record price or climbed to high levels.
When the national media was reporting on the drought and hay convoys heading to the hardest-hit regions of Queensland and northern NSW the Riverina was smashing records for lambs.
National lamb records were often broken multiple times in one week between the centres at Wagga and Griffith.
And prices of more than $300 for lambs occurred on several occasions. Dozens of vendors from throughout Australia were able to lay claim to the record at different times even if it was just for a matter of minutes.
To further cement confidence in the sheep industry wool also achieved good results. It wasn’t uncommon to see prices around $20 a kilogram for wool and for those who had improved their genetics and produced heavy-cutting sheep with quality fleece there were rewards to be had.
After what could be described as a ‘disaster’ of a winter cropping season there were some surprises at the silo in 2018. Growers reported protein in their wheat crops at levels as high as 16 per cent.
In drought years the well-being of people in rural and regional areas is often discussed. And it was discussed this time around too. The interesting thing was that one drought declared area was helping out another. It wasn’t uncommon to see those from the Riverina, who were in drought, gather together to either drive a truck or send hay to their northern neighbours. This camaraderie is the glue that helps rural Australia stick together.
And if we needed facts and figures to back up the significance of how we are living our lives some pleasing research was released from Bond University. The agricultural mecca of Lockhart Shire came out as the “happiest and “kindest” in the Bond University’s happiness project.
The agricultural mecca of Lockhart Shire came out as the 'happiest' and 'kindest' in the Bond University’s happiness project.Bond University
Levels of community involvement and volunteering helped those who live in the area to achieve this title.
Interestingly the neighbouring Greater Hume Council, home to the Henty Machinery Field Days, was second in this same project. To sum up 2018 it certainly can’t be called a bumper year. It was tough. But hopefully it was viable enough that farmers will go ahead and do it all again in 2019.