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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Drought is the only news

Heres todays ABC news stories about the Monaro from ABC Rural;

The previous generation had the best of it says Monaro sheep and cattle breeder

Todays forecast rain could be a life saver for the dry south coast and Monaro. Many Monaro producers are this week making critical decisions on selling stock as water runs out. Andrew Hain is on the dry Monaro plain near Cooma. "We are the third sand dune from the airport" he jokes. Mr Hain says the previous generation had the best years on the land. However he believes the ongoing drought is part of a cyclic weather pattern that will change, eventually. "In my lifetime 1968 started the droughts, and they have followed on with monotonous regularity" he says. Mr Hain says the adverse conditions make producers strong. "There will be some tough decisions made by the end of November" he says.

Running out of water on Monaro

On the western Monaro plain, toward the mountains, Gordon Crowe is farming in the drought at Rocky Plains. He says he is making critical stock decisions this week as stock water is running out on one of his properties. Mr Crowe is a conservative stocker and still has dry feed on the property. As yet he has not had to buy feed for his sheep or cattle.

40 year drought

Dave Jardine also farms at Rocky Plains, where the dry conditions are making producers consider the stock levels yet again. he says the drought conditions have been with the district for most of the past 4 decades. "Since 1967 - 68 we've been in one long dry period" he says. He says his farm has fared better with rain this year and has had 12 inches of the average 34 inches a year. "It's been a long time since that average" he says. He says farming on one third the rain makes them resilient and canny farmers.

Record Drought

Monaro, far south coast and southern tablelands are in the grip of drought. Near the Victorian border around Delegate, David Mitchell is preparing to feedlot core breeding stock as a drought survival strategy. He will put the first 3,000 of an anticipated 5,000 breeding ewes into on-farm feedlots to survive this drought. Mr Mitchell says this years lack of rainfall is a record breaker. "Unless we get 90 mm by the end of the year, this will be the lowest rainfall on record" he says of the 82 years of rainfall records on his farm.

Big cattle selloffs

As dry conditions continue in the states south, livestock selloffs are underway at large regional saleyards. Leann Dax reports over 30,000 cattle were sold at Wagga saleyards yesterday. The Monaro is holding it's 2nd special drought store cattle sale later this month at Cooma.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

May not comment very often but I am finding your blog very interesting and entertaining. My brother from south of Melbourne is staying with us at the moment and talks of the drought.