Don’t self-assess as drought declared areas increase

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The NSW drought strategy includes transport loans and subsidies, a rural resilience program, rural support workers and financial counselling, skills and training subsidies, and the Farm Innovation Fund.

NSW primary producers continue to be challenged by the current seasonal conditions, with the latest NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) State Seasonal Update indicating almost all the state is now in mild to severe drought.

Dry and warm conditions remained through May with only isolated areas of the North Coast and parts of the Riverina, South East and Murray regions receiving average rainfall.

DPI’s Leader of Climate Applications and Digital Agriculture, Dr Anthony Clark said many areas across the state received average to well below average rainfall, with some recording zero rainfall.

“Large areas of Western, North West, Northern Tablelands, North Coast, Central West and Greater Sydney received less than 10 mm of rain,” Mr Clark said.

“It was pleasing however to see isolated falls above 100 mm received in the alpine region during May.

“Most of inland NSW had mild to warm daytime temperatures between 18-27ºC, with eastern NSW ranging from 6-27ºC.

“As the dry conditions continue the prospects of winter crops – wheat, canola and barley and adequate pasture growth to sustain livestock is declining.”

The Combined Drought Indicator shows parts of the Hunter, Greater Sydney, Central Tablelands, Central West, North West, Northern Tablelands, Western and South East are currently in the Drought category.

The area of Drought Onset is expanding rapidly, and includes large parts of Western, Central Tablelands, North West, Northern Tablelands, North Coast, Hunter, Central West, Riverina, Murray, South East and parts of Greater Sydney.

NSW Drought Coordinator, Pip Job said the three month outlook was concerning and it is important that farmers reach out to the services available to help them get through this tough period.

“The Bureau of Meteorology June to August rainfall outlook indicates that there is an increased chance of drier than normal conditions across the majority of NSW,” Ms Job said.

“The NSW drought strategy includes transport loans and subsidies, a rural resilience program, rural support workers and financial counselling, skills and training subsidies, and the Farm Innovation Fund.

“It’s important for people not to self-assess but to contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority so staff can help them step through the assistance measures.

“And remember, you don’t need to be in a particular drought category to access assistance and support measures.”

The Bureau of Meteorology temperature outlook also indicates there is an 80 per cent chance of warmer than normal daytime and overnight temperatures across NSW.

Primary producers are encouraged to visit DroughtHub for the latest State Seasonal Update and information on a range of services and support available to prepare for and manage drought conditions.

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