Some drought-hit farmers ‘running out of bullets’ to put down stock
6:46pm Jul 27, 2018
Farmers in NSW say they’re running short of bullets to put down drought-hit stock, and the dry weather is forecast to run into spring.
In the Hunter region, north of Sydney, some cattle and sheep graziers have resorted to shooting animals judged too weak to be transported to market.
Mobile butcher Drew Shearman told nine.com.au how the drought had affected a friend who has farmed for more than 40 years.
“Usually when I call my friend at the farm I ask him ‘is there anything I can pick up for him on the way?’ Most times he asks for a length of steel or a special tool, a tube, or liquid steel,” Shearman said.
PM shifts focus to droughts
“But this time the request was just bullets. He told me he had five .22 bullets left. The rest had been used to euthanase injured or sick sheep.”
Mr Shearman said the landscape in large parts of NSW’s north west has become strikingly barren.
“It is quite dramatic how the landscape has changed in the area in the last 12 months.”
And there is little cheer for farmers in the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) three-month outlook released today. It indicates there will be little let up in the warmer-than-average July temperatures across eastern and southern states.
Drew Shearman says the landscape in large parts of northern NSW has changed dramatically during the drought. (Photos: Supplied).
For most of mainland Australia, August to October is likely to be drier than average. The odds are highest in the south east, where there is a greater-than-average chance of a drier spring for northern Victorian and southern NSW.
A spokesman for the BOM said large chucks of the NSW had soil moisture levels at just 1 percent of normal conditions.
This presents a double blow for farmers battling the drought. Even when rainfall arrives, it is likely to be soaked up in the land rather than filling dams and rivers.
National Farmers Federation chief executive Tony Mahar told nine.com.au farmers are facing “tough decisions” whether to continue feeding stock or to sell.
He said without rain soon many arable growers could face a second year without a harvested crop.
Farmers hit by the drought are facing tough choices between selling stock or continue feeding. (Photo: Supplied).
“This period of deficient rainfall is shaping up to be the driest in a decade.
“If rain is not received very soon, winter croppers – wheat, barley, pulse and canola growers, face having a failed crop, despite having spent thousands of dollars on seeding.
“For some farmers, this will be the second year without a crop.”
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