Some farmers battling the drought are so frustrated by weather forecasts they joke they'd be better off studying the behaviour of ants, galahs or even emus to predict when it might rain.
Graziers and crop farmers alike argue times might be tough but what's worse is the false hope created by forecast rains that never arrive.
"It just breaks your spirit," sheep farmer Chris Blunt from Emu Swamp told AAP.
"You've got to consider the anxiety and stress you're putting blokes under - bringing their hopes up and then dashing them.
"I'm almost getting to the point now where whatever the bureau says you think it's going to be the opposite."
Some people believe bull ants build their nests high before heavy rain while others insist galahs hanging upside down from power lines is a sure sign a deluge is imminent.
"Emus are an interesting one," Parkes farmer Wayne Dunford said.
"One year in July I'd never seen so many emu nests around everywhere ... and we had a cracker, had a flood and everything."
The 68-year-old says he's heard governments say "You should be farming by forecast".
"Well, we'd be broke in 12 months if we did," is his response.
There hasn't been good rain in the region - five hours west of Sydney - for more than a year.
But ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes director Andy Pitman says the Bureau of Meteorology, "given the resources they have and the complexity of the problem, is doing as well as anyone in the world" but has issues managing expectations.
Graziers are being forced to sell their livestock and crop farmers are looking at dust rather than productive paddocks but inaccurate forecasts cause the most mental anguish for many, according to Mr Dunford.
"The biggest mental health creator at the moment is the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting," he said.
"It just gets people down something terrible especially when 50 to 60 millimetres is forecast and you get 5mm."
NSW Water Minister Niall Blair understands the frustration.
"Absolutely we're disappointed and when I travel around and speak to farmers it's the common theme that they're all quite frustrated that in 2018 we can still be so wrong in some of our forecasting," he said.
Some on the land are turning to European modelling for better data, according to Mr Blair.
"When we have farmers relying on modelling and forecasts coming from other parts of the world you've got to question how we're missing the mark so much here in Australia," he said.
But the bureau's NSW state manager Ann Farrell says while temperatures and winds can be similar across large areas, rainfall can vary greatly.
"Farms located next to each other might experience significant rainfall differences as weather systems move across the landscape, raining on some areas and missing others," she said.
"Because of this, our forecasts include information about the chance of any rainfall, along with a possible expected rainfall range."
Australian Associated Press
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