THIS has been a pretty good year for rural communities across southeast Australia.
It has been a year where, yet again, the weather dominated.
After a decade of drought, 2011 will go down as the year the rain returned with a vengeance.
And with it came all the good and bad wet weather can bring.
Of course, the floods early in the year across Queensland and Victoria will dominate any discussion about the weather. But we can't lose sight of the good that has come from the rain.
Water storages are almost full, crops and pastures have hit their stride and the financial stress of drought has been somewhat alleviated.
It has been a year where commodity prices rose in unison, despite what should have been a cripplingly high Australian dollar.
For a major exporter, the dollar should have decimated our farming industries. Yet beef, lamb, dairy and wool confounded the experts and continued to rise.
The only lowlight has been the steady drop in grain prices, just as growers hit the paddock to harvest a near-record crop.
The quiet achiever this year has been the wool industry, where the action finally moved from the boardroom to the paddock.
After years as the whipping boy - the commodity that once was - wool came into its own.
In June, it hit its highest price in 23 years and while it has come off the boil to more sustainable levels, it remains strong enough for many growers to contemplate a return to the fibre.
Of course, all livestock industries are a replacement game.
When prices are high it means buying replacement stock will also be high. It has always been this way.
But farmers are happy to pay good prices if they are confident of the year ahead.
It is this sentiment which makes next week's annual weaner calf sales such an important indicator for the year ahead.
Early this year the talk was of exorbitant calf prices. They are expected to be even higher next year. If producers believe they stand to make a quid, they will pay accordingly.
Let's hope they do.
The Weekly Times hopes all your ducks (and cattle, sheep, goats and crops) line up in 2012, and bring you a happy and prosperous year.