Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Drought afflicts entire New South Wales in Australia

Harry Taylor 6 plays in a load of Cotton Seed on the family farm in New South Wales BROOK MITCHELL GETTY IMAGES Harry Taylor 6 plays in a load of Cotton Seed on the family farm in New South Wales
Cary Marshall | 10 August, 2018, 16:11

Australia's most populous state was declared entirely in drought on Wednesday and struggling farmers were given new authority to shoot kangaroos that compete with livestock for sparse pasture during the most intense dry spell in more than 50 years.

Federated Farmers is working on positive ways to help drought stricken farmers across the Tasman, says national president Katie Milne.

With no feed, farmers have been forced to ship in grain or hay from other parts of the country to keep sheep and cattle alive, spending thousands of extra dollars a week just to stay afloat.

Some exhausted graziers spend hours each day hand-feeding their stock because the ground is too dry for grass to grow.

An old dead tree lies like a skeleton on the scorched earth in a property located to the west of Tamworth, a rural (and country music) center in the state of New South Wales, Australia.

Less than 10mm of rain was recorded in the western, northwest, and central areas of NSW over the past month and drier-than-normal conditions are forecast for the next three months across the majority of the state. "They are shooting them because they just can't afford to feed them anymore", Tash Johnston, cofounder of Drought Angels NGO, told AFP news agency.

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Farmers have also had to ration water for their families and their herds because the dams on their properties are dry or almost empty.

The brown surrounds at the O'Brien farm echoes the experience of many other NSW farmers. The state governments would also be asked to submit reports on drought condition, so that relevant relief measures can be implemented.

"We can't make it rain".

In a joint statement, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud, said: "We will stand with Australia's farming families every step of the way as they cope with this devastating drought: listening, caring, responding and delivering".

Separately, the state government announced a $500 million emergency relief package last Monday, raising the state's total drought support to more than A$1 billion.

This aerial photo shows cattle on a dry paddock in the drought-hit area of Quirindi in New South Wales.

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