Orange back to drought rainfall levels, coldest April for 15 years

With no rain falling, for the month, Cowra returned to drought-level rain in April.

The last time it was this dry was in 2013 when 1mm was recorded.

The mean average April rainfall for Cowra is 42.8mm.

As a comparison, Cowra received 113.2mm last April.

The month was also one of the coldest on record with a mean average low of.just over 5 degrees. The long term mean minimum temperature for April is 8.3 degrees.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting some relief today and tomorrow with 90 per cent chance of five to 10mm today and 60 per cent chance of one to five millimetres on Wednesday.

The remainder of May, however, is looking quite dry.

The good news is that the water level at Wyangala Dam is currently 69 per cent of the dam's capacity.

At the end of April last year Wyangala was just 13 per cent of its capacity.

The BOM is forecasting drier than average rainfall for south-east Australia over the next three months.

Cowra is expected to receive its first rainfall in over a month today.

Cowra is expected to receive its first rainfall in over a month today.

Despite the current dry conditions and outlook the rural sector is optimistically looking forward to the winter cropping season.

On the grain side of cropping in the Cowra region, Elders agronomist Peter Watt said there's been an upswing to canola this season.

"You can take contracts and there's a bit of a firm pricing out there, so I'd say the canola acreage could be up by as much as 10 to 15 per cent," Mr Watt said.

"I think the other big change is obviously barley's on the nose. There's a lot of stored barley and some nervousness about overseas markets, so a bit of a change out of barley this season, and more sowing towards canola and wheat as well as the few gaps being filled to chickpeas and fava beans, plus other varieties that have a good commodity price."

Mr Watt said the increase in grain crops was at the expense of dual-purpose varieties.

"Because for the moisture profile this year people are not so hell-bent on getting everything sown early," he said.

"Once farmers have got enough cover for their livestock operation, it's been about a timely calendar sowing, probably to maximise control of weeds.

He said there had been more than usual burning of stubbles.

"But there have been multi-pronged reasons for this.

"It was the heaviest crop probably on record last year with a lot of downed crop that may or not have been completely harvested, mice and the incorporation of soil-applied herbicides giving a multi-bacterial reason for strategic burning."