East-central Australia has been enduring severe drought for an extended period of time. Long range weather forecasters are now talking about a new El Niño event expected to develop later this year. El Niño events are harsh on eastern Australia agricultural areas, resulting in serious drought quite often.
Despite the constant threat of drought, wind, frost or disease slashing their income, only 13 per cent of grain growers are considering multi-peril crop insurance. GrainGrowers chief executive David McKeon said surveys of his members showed that a lack of understanding of the available policies and their perceived high cost contributed to a low uptake among grain farmers.
Hot conditions and low rainfall amounts continue to take their toll on the wheat crop in eastern Australia as the country’s 2018-19 wheat production is forecast at 21 million tonnes, about 12% below the previous estimate, according to a July 10 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
There has been useful rain on the Northern Tablelands in the last couple of days although it hasn’t been enough in most places to run much water. Ensuring good quality water for livestock is an ongoing part of managing livestock at all times but becomes particularly relevant when water supplies are limited in dry times.
Queensland farmers are hoping that forecast rain for this week may offer a last-ditch opportunity to germinate winter grain crops and seed late crops. An unseasonal trough is expected to feed moist air into Queensland bringing the chance of welcome rain to Central Highlands, Maranoa, Darling Downs and extending into northern NSW. Forecasters are saying some areas could see 20 – 30mm of rain by the end of the week.
Central Queensland currently has a contrast of conditions, with some places lucky to have dry feed and other areas in total drought. Districts including Alpha and the Belyando Crossing are very dry with supplementary feeding for the past 12 months to keep breeders going and water problems starting to emerge. Springsure, Rolleston and Bauhinia had good rains from last October to February and have dry feed.
ANAKIE sheep and grain farmer Shane Trotter was “shocked” when he discovered his insurance policy did not cover livestock theft. About three weeks ago thieves cut the chain on a padlocked gate of his farm and took 148 lambs that were ready to be sold. The lambs were estimated to be worth $150 each, or $22,200. The theft was reported to police. “But they didn’t even come out, they just wrote a report from their office,” Mr Trotter said.
The NSW Government has made a significant announcement for drought assistance to help those affected around the state. Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair announced additional funding for the Farm Innovation Fund, a new weather station, mental health and a new kangaroo management plan at a property just outside of Dubbo on Wednesday.
Cane growers around Ingham are struggling under the dual burden of plummeting sugar prices and the ongoing impact of the disastrous March floods. Two separate flood peaks hit the Herbert River sugar cane district, ripping up thousands of hectares of farmland and causing $15 million in local infrastructure damage alone.
Former Mukinbudin farmer Rowell Walton said he was still talking to people who thought the window to take out cover for multi-peril insurance had closed. With the late start to the season, Mr Walton said there was still time for farmers to get insurance which covered drought, water stress, flood, hailstones, wind, frost, lightning, excessive rain, heat stress, snow, hurricane, cyclone, tornado, wildlife, wandering livestock, accidental fire, bushfire, weed infestation and insect/pest manifestation.
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