IT'S a bleak outlook for the region's irrigation industry, as farmers stare down the barrel of another 12 months without river water.
Farmers in the Peel and Namoi valleys haven't had access to river water since the middle of last year.
Irrigator and committee member of the Peel Valley Water Users' Assocation, Ildu Monticone, said it was a waiting game.
"Everything has ground to a halt, waiting to see what happens," Mr Monticone said.
"At a local level, there has already been a lot of lost production.
"We know we won't get any river allocations unless we get significant rain between now and June.
"People can use 51 per cent of their groundwater allocation until June 30, but what happens after that, we don't know.
"A lot of people don't have a big groundwater allocation to begin with, and when you're only getting 51 per cent, you don't get much at all."
David Gowing is one of those farmers irrigating with groundwater, growing crops to feed his cattle.
"I'm still irrigating with difficultly and at a very reduced rate," Mr Gowing said.
"We're definitely below 25 per cent of our usual production, possibly as low as 10 per cent.
"There's no way I can produce enough feed currently to even maintain a reduced number of stock.
"Put it this way: my whole reduced herd of breeding cattle went to Victoria yesterday for agistment."
To make matters worse, much of the limited groundwater is beginning to dry up.
"A lot of bores aren't holding up," Mr Gowing said.
"I imagine a fair bit of groundwater is becoming unavailable for irrigation. If that happens to me, I don't have any idea where we go to from there.
"If I'm forced to sell, I don't see how I could possibly get back in again. There just won't be enough stock around.
"The only thing to do is plan for the next three to six months at a time."