And the winner is … Judbury

Judbury leads Tasmania's soil dryness in late January 2024
Judbury leads Tasmania’s soil dryness in late January 2024

I am told people used to make fun of the Huon Valley because it was so cold and damp everything went moldy.

Maybe that is true, I don’t know.

What I do know is that it is the driest I have seen it on the farm in our 12 years in Judbury, and the weather bureau is backing up my observation.

According to the bureau’s soil dryness index, Judbury had the driest soil in the state on January 25, 2024.

That’s right – not the dry midlands, not the dry east coast – part of the “cold and damp” Huon Valley was bone dry.

There is no data for neighbouring Glen Huon or Lonnavale, but the available figures show Huonville’s soil is far less dry.

We have had a couple of 40C days during our 12 years here.

But overall the climate has been mild, with a drying trend.

Twelve years ago we had to wear gumboots outside in winter and spring because the paddocks were boggy.

Not any more.

So we aren’t going moldy. Far from it.

What is in store next year?

Dry as a bone

The spring fed dam is dry mid January
Our top dam mid January 2024 … as dry as I’ve seen it

The once reliable sorta-spring-fed dam in our gully is bone dry.

Yes, it is summer, but I don’t recall the dam drying out like this before in our 12 years here.

It has only emptied when a pipe burst or when I was irrigating too much and it drained out.

The dam was only half full during the winter and the soil has no moisture to top it up.

Our first five years here this dam was always over two thirds full.

Tasmanian Life