NSW drought

All of NSW is now drought affected to some extent. Source: https://edis.dpi.nsw.gov.au/
All of NSW is now drought affected to some extent. Source: https://edis.dpi.nsw.gov.au/

As farmers continue through the one of the driest winters on record, the latest seasonal update shows that NSW is now 100 per cent in drought.

June and July have been much drier than expected, resulting in failing crops, water shortages and a diminishing supply of fodder to sustain stock.

Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair said this latest update confirms what many farmers across the state have seen, with only 0-10mm of rain recorded over the past month in the Western, North West and Central areas of NSW.

“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,” Mr Blair said.

“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 but I want every farmer and community to know that we will stand with them through this challenging time and continue to make sure we have the right support available.”

The NSW Government has announced more than $1 billion in drought relief measures, which include transport subsidies, waivers on farming costs, further bolstering the Farm Innovation Fund, animal welfare measures and mental health support.

Primary producers are reminded that they don’t need to be in a particular drought category to access assistance and support measures.

It is important that farmers do not self-assess and check their eligibility for assistance. For the full range of measures and to see the latest seasonal update visitdroughthub.nsw.gov.au

Long range forecast

Climate forecasts are favouring below average rainfall for most of Australia's eastern and southern halves through the remainder of winter and early spring. 

Local water restrictions

Bellingen Shire Council has moved water restrictions up a notch to Level 1 (moderate), effective from today.

This means:

  • Micro-sprays and drippers/subsurface can be used for a maximum of 15 minutes, and
  • Hand held hoses can be used for 1 hour every second day, between the hours of 4pm and 9am on odd or even days matching house numbering system, and
  • Other irrigation and unattended hoses banned. 

Kempsey and Nambucca councils have not announced restrictions on water usage beyond the usual  conservation measures requiring no unattended hoses between the hours of 9am to 4pm.