Mixed end to summer for Qld and NSW

Beef Central, 26/02/2016

Despite recent good rainfall in parts of Queensland, widespread drought revocations are unlikely, according to the State’s agriculture minister Leanne Donaldson.

“It is pleasing to note that some producers have received rain since Christmas,” the Minister said.

“Indeed, some have been celebrating full dams for the first time in years.

“But as we approach the end of the wet season, the overall rainfall outlook for much of the state can be best described as ‘touch and go’.

“Overall much more rain is needed.”

Minister Donaldson said the next six weeks would be critical for summer active pastures and for planting rains.

After that, shorter days and cooler temperatures will limit pasture growth and begin to limit cropping options.

“Local Drought Committees will meet in mid-April to make recommendations on the status of drought declarations and revocations.

“At this stage widespread revocations are not expected.”

The Minister told fellow MPs the Palaszczuk Government will honour its election commitment to support existing drought relief arrangements until 2018.

She said the Government had increased the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS) cap from $30,000 to $40,000 for producers in their third and subsequent year of drought, streamlined the freight subsidy process for charities, made donations to a number of drought charities, and provided $2.9 million specifically for mental health support in droughted communities.

In the current financial year, $32.9 million had been allocated to DRAS.

Assistance from other Queensland Government agencies in 2015-16 included $4 million on social and community support, $1.5 million on primary mental health support, $2.5 million on fixed electricity charge relief for irrigators and $4.113 million on waivers of annual water licences and rebate on land rent.

Minister Donaldson said the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries had processed 2000 freight subsidy claims valued at $6.787 million and 628 emergency water infrastructure rebate claims worth $5.375 million.

More than $850,000 has been provided to charities to deliver drought support such as donated fodder.

Satisfactory summer season ending in NSW

NSW primary producers have benefited from above average January rainfall, contributing to improved pasture growth and higher summer crop yield potential.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Seasonal Conditions Coordinator Ian McGowen said the new-year brought above average rainfall across nearly 70 per cent of the state and near average for most of the remainder.

“During January most of the state received rainfall of between 25-100 mm,” Mr McGowen said.

“Very heavy falls occurred in areas of the south, central and mid-north coast, Sydney basin and lower Hunter valley as a result of an East Coast Low and severe thunderstorms.

“Falls of 50-100 mm occurred in areas of the north west where it is needed the most, assisting to replenish soil moisture reserves and encourage summer growing pastures.

“It is pleasing to see pasture growth also improved across the tablelands, south east and areas of the coast, west and central NSW as a result of the January rainfall.

“Perennial summer growing grasses and lucerne benefited particularly from the wet conditions, but haymaking proved difficult in some areas and the quality of standing dry feed was degraded due to the rain.

“The summer rainfall improved soil moisture reserves in many areas, boosting confidence for winter crops, with particular interest in early sowings of dual purpose winter crops.

“The rain has stimulated prolific growth of summer weeds with often multiple sprayings of winter cropping paddocks necessary to ensure moisture and nitrogen levels are maintained.

“Follow up rainfall for later sown summer crops in the north could push yield potential to well above average. Grain growers in the far south are likely to receive average to above average summer crop yields.

“Models show topsoil moisture has improved across the eastern half of the state during January, particularly along the south to mid-north coast, Hunter valley, central tablelands and the north west.”

  • The Bureau of Meteorology is due to release its next national drought update next week.

Sources: Qld DAF, NSW DPI



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