More evidence of the improved seasonal conditions now being enjoyed by many cattle producers is emerging in the uptake of low-interest restocking loans in Queensland.
The Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority has reported an influx of applications for low-interest loans in recent months to help producers restock or replant.
Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson said while it was still too early to say the “drought is over”, it was clear many producers are now preparing for life after the long-running drought.
QRAA received $75 million to support new lending under the Drought Concessional Loans Scheme and the Drought Recovery Concessional Loans Scheme and funds are still available.
“With interest rates at a record low of 2.66%, and up to $1 million available under each scheme for eligible farmers, the best advice is to contact QRAA without delay,” the Minister said.
Minister Donaldson said that while Local Drought Committees would not meet to make recommendations on drought status until April, the unexpected and widespread rain in western Queensland had resulted in around 30 producers revoking their drought status.
“Some graziers are looking at the rain gauge and their dams and deciding it is time to restock or revoke their drought status,” the Minister said.
“It’s a big decision and one that should not be taken without seeking expert advice.
“The good falls we have had in recent weeks across much of the state will provide a good start for the perennial pastures that will be needed when summer comes.
“We hope this regular rainfall will continue through the summer and we will have the good perennial pasture growth graziers rely on.
“There are some hopeful signs, with the current long-range outlook indicating a higher than normal probability of exceeding median summer rainfall across most of Queensland.
“If La Nina conditions emerge in the coming months, as some global climate models predict, this will further support a favourable outlook for the summer.”
Any producer who wishes to start restocking and wishes to access government assistance with the freight costs of restocking should contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries first to obtain an individual drought revocation.
Graziers do not need to gain a drought revocation to apply for a loan from QRAA.
Eligibility conditions apply and for more information visit www.qraa.qld.gov.au or contact QRAA on Freecall 1800 623 946.
For those graziers who revoke their drought status the Queensland Government’s Drought Relief Assistance Scheme provides a 75% subsidy to help with the cost of transporting livestock purchased for restocking.
Source: Queensland Government
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