Rebuilding to follow rain in Queensland
RAINS across central and southern Queensland have not broken the drought, but may have heralded "one of the best years yet" for Australian agriculture.
The rains in the past week have fallen across central, southern and western Queensland where the drought bit hard throughout last year.
But while National Farmers Federation president Brent Finlay said it was great news for some, many had missed out, and he hoped a more even spread of falls would come soon.
Mr Finlay said the falls in recent days had also come with massive hail storms "wiping out" some producers' entire cotton and sorghum crops on the Darling Downs.
He said for many, the "toughest decisions" were still ahead, as farmers contemplated improved soil moisture profiles ahead of their next crop and cattle producers assessed whether to restock.
"The rain has been disappointing for some areas, but it's money in the bank for many people, and we're looking at a great year ahead," Mr Finlay said.
"Livestock prices will stay strong as people try to restock, and with the strong demand and low Australian dollar the issue is really how we rebuild our production systems.
"But one fall doesn't break a drought, we need follow-up rain."
Mr Finlay also said the rain could help strengthen the rural property market, describing overseas interest in Australian agriculture at "fever-pitch" levels.
"It's not just China, there's interest all over the world in Australian agriculture, and many people will probably look at restructuring - some might look at exiting as well while it's good this year," Mr Finlay said.
"The ducks are lining up for 2016, and all we need is for the seasons to fall in line, to help get money in the pockets of our farmers."
Mr Finlay also told APN he hoped Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would make a trip to Indonesia this year, as he believed it was one of the most important markets for Australian produce.
"We need to capitalise on the new trade agreements, but we also need to strengthen our relationship with Indonesia - it's our closest, potentially massive market."