Drought Figures: Oz Farmers Hot Under the Collar

AUSTRALIA - According to recent figures, several areas in Australia are already slipping back into draught. The news will draw massive concern amongst farmers who suffered a disastrous set back in production after last years draught.
calendar icon 8 April 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Photo: StockXchange

NSW Farmers’ Association President Jock Laurie says while the increase in drought is slight, up to 42.9% from 40.3% last month, farmers are still worried.

“The issue is that while we had an extremely positive start to the year, without continued rainfall particularly at this crucial stage, farmers could be facing more trouble with winter crops,” Mr Laurie said.

“Winter crop prospects are currently good, but this is dependent on a decent autumn break, which failed to show up last year, and the year before that, so it’s obvious why farmers are remaining cautious,” he said.

“While drought figures compared to this time last year are much smaller, half of the State is still in drought, and that is significant.

“March was quite dry for most of the State. Although we saw the Central West and South East get useful storm rainfall, the lack of rain in our other regions is serious,” Mr Laurie said.

Also of concern are the upcoming expirations of Exceptional Circumstance (EC) declarations. The declaration for Burke/Brewarrina expires on 15 June, while all other declarations in NSW expire on 30 September.

“Our industry is to some extent an uncertain one in terms of the seasons, but it is within the power of the Federal Government to give clear indications to people of what they can expect with EC declarations,” Mr Laurie said.

“Farmers need the certainty of a decision well before the expiry dates to allow them to seek finance to plant a winter crop. Farm families are already under extreme pressure and are anxious about what might happen if EC declarations are revoked.

“The NSW Farmers’ Association is working with both State and Federal Governments to ensure all necessary information is provided in a timely fashion, and we will continue to monitor progress in relation to drought.

“We hope to see a more positive reversal of the drought in the next month’s figures,” Mr Laurie concluded.

Areas to move back into drought included regions of the Central Tablelands, Hume, Wilcannia and Yass.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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