THIS drought is unlike any other in at least half a century, one Tamworth area landholder has said.
As farmers across the country continue to say they don’t feel their plight is truly understood, Loomberah’s Simon Kelleher has explained it as “the perfect storm of adverse events”.
He said other droughts had still held promise around the corner but, this time, there was “no way out”.
According to the NSW DPI, 77.2 per cent of the North West, 53.5 of the Northern Tablelands and 62.4 per cent of NSW overall was now in drought or drought onset.
Many areas have had little useful rainfall for several months, and the Bureau of Meteorology was predicting a drier-than-average winter in this corner of the country.
“This is the perfect storm, where adverse events are all aligned,” Mr Kelleher said.
“In my experience of more than 50 years of farming and grazing, I have never seen anything like it.
“There was always some way out … agistment, plentiful hay and water supply.
“There has always been something going on to benefit the farmers, but in this situation everything is working against them; there’s nothing to look forward to.
“In the current situation, water is not available, hay from South Australia is running out rapidly and it is too late to sow winter feed.
“Even if it does rain, there will be no growth until spring. Farmers who have dry-sown, in the hope that it would rain, have lost their crop.”
Mr Kelleher said the ground was “so bare you could flog a flea over it with a stock whip and keep an eye on it. It’s as bare as your table at home that you have your dinner on.”
And he said graziers’ options had “just about closed up”.
“[Some] believe their cattle are too emaciated to sell.
“It’s got to the stage now where we’re at the beginning of winter, and spring’s still three months hence.
“God knows what their cattle are going to look like; it doesn’t take much for them to lose weight, particularly in the cold weather.”
Mr Kelleher recently wrote to The Leader criticising the state government’s drought support package as “an abomination”.
“[It] has all the earmarks of having been put together by brain-dead, box-ticking Orwellian bean counters and signed off by the government without giving any thought to the consequences.”
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