8 August 2018Hot off the Press
All of New South Wales has been declared in drought, with 77% of the state either in drought or drought-affected and 23% experiencing intense drought, according to the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).
June and July were drier than expected, causing crops to fail, water shortages, and a diminishing supply of fodder for livestock, NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said in a statement on Wednesday.
According to Mr Blair, only 0-10mm of rain were recorded over the past month in the western, northwest and central areas of NSW.
The Minister said:
“This is tough, there isn’t a person in the state that isn’t hoping to see some rain for our farmers and regional communities.
“Producers are now faced with some very difficult decisions on whether to graze sown crops or rely on potential rainfall in the next two months in order to increase yield production.
“Some areas of the state did receive some welcome rainfall this month that has provided a little relief for stock and domestic water; unfortunately though, it will not even come close to the recovery needed for most farmers.
“The forecast suggests an increase of drier than normal conditions for the next three months across the majority of NSW.”
Mr Blair also said the Government would “stand with [farmers] through this challenging time and continue to make sure we have the right support available”.
The NSW Government have announced a drought relief package of over $1 billion which include transport subsidies, waivers on farming costs, further bolstering the Farm Innovation Fund, animal welfare measures, and mental health support.
During a tour of drought-stricken communities earlier this week, Prime Minsiter Malcolm Turnbull announced $12,000 grants for each farming family affected by the so-called ‘Big Dry’.