Water

Farmer is running for rain

By Sophie Baldwin

Luke Barlow is jumping for joy after his Bunnaloo mixed farm received 62 mm of rain last week.

But he he will have to work out how to turn jumping into running after pledging on Facebook to run a kilometre for every millimetre of rain his property received.

Like every farmer across the region, Mr Barlow had been closely watching the approaching front last week.

After his farm, south-west of Deniliquin, received 6 mm of rain on Wednesday he decided to put his money where his mouth is — for what he has dubbed the ‘Rain Run 2020 Challenge'.

“I did the same thing last year when they were talking up big rains of 80 to 90 mm and that only turned out to be a 26 km run; I have got a few extra kilometres to run this year,” he laughed.

Mr Barlow is a little unsure how to tackle the 62 km run, with the longer distance meaning he will have to put a little more thought into it.

“Whether other people tag along or it turns into a bit of a fundraiser or an awareness run, we will have to wait and see.

“It certainly created a lot of interest on Facebook and a few laughs.”

Mr Barlow began running in 2016 when he decided to run the Melbourne Marathon and raise some funds for Beyond Blue along the way.

Exercise and fitness have become part of his lifestyle and have helped him cope with the stress of farming over the past few tough years.

Mr Barlow said the rain had brought a great sense of relief and he couldn't have asked for a better start to the season — the tractor is already out of the shed ploughing up paddocks in readiness for sowing.

He said neighbouring farms had also recorded similar falls of between 50 mm and 70 mm.

“It has been a perfect start and with the ground still warm, we are expecting some good grass growth.

“It was a real steady, soaking rain to build up soil moisture and if we get follow-up rains over the next few weeks we will be well and truly off to a good start.”

The business plan this season is to cut back some of the cropping area and build up the sheep side of the enterprise.

Mr Barlow said it had been a tough dry season right across the country, made even worse by tragic fires across Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

“To see the rain come and slowly make its way down to NSW and Victoria has been wonderful, especially for those communities further north who have been looking at the dry riverbed of the Darling for years.

“At least I could go out and look at the Murray flowing past — I just couldn't afford to buy any of the water in it.”