Spring rain has brought a sense of relief to some farmers in parts of New South Wales who have been battling drought conditions.
But while it may look greener in some areas, what's being termed the 'green drought' is far from over.
Some areas around the Central West, Riverina and coastal areas have benefited from good rainfall of more than 100mm in recent weeks bringing a green tinge to paddocks, but sub-soil moisture levels still remain at near-record lows.
In its latest seasonal outlook, the NSW Department of Primary Industries reports 98 per cent of the state is declared in drought, down slightly from August when it hit 100 per cent.
"September rainfall was average to very much below average across most of NSW, but some rainfall has seen conditions improve in parts of coastal, eastern and central regions," DPI climatologist Anthony Clark said.
"The falls bring short-term relief with substantially more rain needed to restore depleted soil moisture levels.
"We may be dealing with a false break," Dr Clark said.
Farmers hoping the rain will be a game changer
For Canowindra canola grower, Oliver Wythes, his 2,000 hectare property in the Central West has received its second-lowest rainfall on record.
But falls of 20–30mm in recent weeks has given him hope.
"We were looking at grazing off a lot of our crops but we're now looking at taking our crops through to harvest," he said.
Mr Wythes said rainfall in recent weeks had undoubtedly been a turning point for the season.
"If we hadn't had the rain and we get a couple of dry and hot weeks, we'd have been looking at just half of what we're now going to be able to harvest," he said.
Coastal areas of NSW in particular have benefited from good falls of rain in September and October with some areas already receiving more than their monthly average.
Dairy farmer Rob Miller, from Milton on the South Coast, was considering closing down his dairy, which had been in operation since 1859, until it rained.
"We've had 75mm in the past 10 days and it's transformed the farm; we've got green grass for the first time in six months," Mr Miller said.
"We'd love another 200mm but it's a start.
"I was on the brink of shutting down; it was tough to get out of bed in the morning.
"I've brought in 4,000 tonnes of feed in the past year, have culled my herd of 1,000 cattle by a third, and it was getting uneconomic.
"We've now got green grass to feed the cows but we still need water in the dams."
Some regions pulled out of drought
Parts of the state's North Coast have received enough rain to now be declared out of drought altogether.
A fortnight into October, the average rainfall for the month has been surpassed with heavy falls over the past week.
For Shirley Mitchell, who grows sugar cane on the banks of the Tweed River at Tumblegum 20km south-west of Tweed Heads, planting next season's crop was well and truly on hold.
"I'm saying at least a fortnight before we can start planting, and only if it [the rain] breaks today," she said from her property, which is bordered by the river.
Last October, the total rainfall for the area was 212mm.
In the second week of this October Ms Mitchell has recorded 153mm in the space of six days — with 40mm falling in the space of two hours.
The recent heavy falls have delayed the harvest, although Ms Mitchell is fortunate to have already cut 80 per cent of her cane.
Rainfall misses out some regions, drought conditions worsen in west
Not all areas have benefited from recent rainfall.
In western New South Wales, the upper Hunter and in the north-west of the state, intense drought conditions remain.
Areas around Cobar, Bourke, Walgett and Coonamble have largely missed out on falls.
Rodney Slack-Smith farms at Burren Junction, between Narrabri and Walgett, where rain has largely passed him by.
He received 12mm recently, which was the most significant fall on his property since 2016 and hearing about rain elsewhere has been depressing.
"It is hard, it plays on your mind a bit but it is good for the people down south," Mr Slack-Smith said.
"Our time will come and you just have to wait and hope for the best."
In the Hunter Valley it's a story of both celebration and despair.
Lower Hunter farmers have received the highest rainfall in more than 12 months, with some areas recording more than 100mm over several weeks but Upper Hunter farmers have had no such luck.
Keely Wicks who farms near Bunnan received 10mm and is struggling to maintain her herd.
"It's desperate, the only green we have on the property is a bit of saffron thistle," she said.
The district was the first to go into drought and it could be some time before it is drought free.
Alan Hardes is a farmer and stock carrier in Muswellbrook and has seen the worst-affected areas.
He said the land was showing no sign of recovering despite rainfall recordings of up to 20mm.
"Some of the pastures will need re-sowing after such a long period without rain" he said.
Robbie Whieldon has been carting hay for charities across the state and has seen the hurt farmers are experiencing.
He worries now that, with some areas receiving rain, the plight of farmers still in drought will be forgotten.
"It's hard not to get emotional when delivering hay to the farmers with some literally crying when they see the hay," he said.ABC