Saturday, 21 July 2018

"100 year" drought in New South Wales, Australia

"It's Dire!" - Aussie Farmers Face Worst Drought In 100 Years

20 July, 2018

Farmers are saying the situation they’ve been presented with is “dire.” As they battle the worst drought they’ve faced in 100 years, farming families in central-western New South Wales in Australia are facing ruin.

According to The Guardian, the farmers in the affected region of central and western New South Wales continue to battle a crippling drought that many locals are calling the worst since 1902. In Warrumbungle Shire, where sharp peaks fall away to once fertile farmland, the small town of Coonabarabran is running out of water. The town dam has fallen to 23% of its capacity and residents are living with level-six water restrictions.

There are real fears the town will run dry. Unable to provide food would not only mean financial ruin for the farmers but also less food for those who need it.
It’s a pretty tough old time,” says Coonabarabran farmer Ambrose Doolan. “But if you’re working with your family and everyone is looking out for each other, you count your blessings.”

Last year, the Doolan family recorded their fourth-lowest average rainfall and that poor year has been followed by even drier conditions this year. The family has begun selling whatever stock they can and spends their whole day at feeding the cattle that remain because the pastures have dried up.
Farmers in this part of NSW are importing almost all food for their livestock from as far away as South Australia as prices rise with demand. The continued cost of buying feed is causing many to question their future on the land. The NSW government recently approved an emergency drought relief package of $600m, at least $250m of which will cover low-interest loans to assist eligible farm businesses to recover. The package has been welcomed but, in the words of a local farmer, “it barely touches the sides”. With the prospect of a dry El NiƱo weather pattern hitting the state in spring, the longer-term outlook is dire. The Guardian

As the cost of trucking in food for cattle and sheep increases, so will the cost of the products created from them, hitting consumers’ wallets hard. 

Charities such as Buy a Bale, where people can purchase hay bales for local farmers, have been some assistance, but rain would offer the biggest relief.  While much of NSW experienced a wet start to winter, the darker skies over Coonabarabran have yet to deliver said relief.

And many farmers say they will reject the government’s offer of a loan simply because they are already in a dire amount of debt.

Dust storm causing havoc for drought-stricken farmers in northern NSW

20 July, 2018

A dust storm in northern New South Wales is making already-tough farming conditions even worse for farmers.

Trina Redgwell and her husband Pete live on an 80-hectare Red Angus stud farm on the outskirts of Tamworth.

They woke this morning to find dust swirling around their property and most surfaces of their home covered with it.

"It has been blowing an absolute gale," Ms Redgwell said.

"We've had the paddock ready to go for our winter crop since February but haven't had the rain to plant. We were waiting for just 10 millimetres and we haven't even had that.

"There's obviously no grass cover so the wind is just blowing all our topsoil away, which will only make it worse for us and harder to eventually plant.
"It's just devastating."

Sue Currey in Walgett, NSW, is enduring a dusty day at her place

PHOTO Sue Currey in Walgett, NSW, is enduring a dusty day at her place


There have been reports of the dust cover reaching the Hunter region and as far north as Walgett, but the Riverina and central-west regions appear to have escaped it.

Dust from Mildura storm lingers

Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Jordan Notara said the dust was a hangover from a storm that whipped over Mildura on Tuesday morning.

"The dust from the storm in Mildura has blown across the state and has continued to linger around," he said.
"For a dusty situation, the key ingredients are dry soil and strong winds, and those conditions currently exist in many parts of regional New South Wales.
"The forecast for today is for windy conditions, which will be blowing additional dust across parts of the state but it should also help to disperse it as well.

"There has also been a small amount of rainfall across New South Wales this morning with more predicted this afternoon, particularly in the northern part of the state, which should help the dust to clear."

Trina Redgwell in Tamworth found this mess in her laundry this morning

PHOTO Ms Redgwell found this mess in her laundry this morning.


That is welcome news for Ms Redgwell, but does not change the fact she is facing a weekend of cleaning.

"When I left for work this morning there was dust everywhere. We had a thick layer of dust along every windowsill and dust all over the floor.

"And to think I vacuumed and mopped on Tuesday."

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