Heat is on for farm­ers

Lack of rain re­sults in feed short­age

Central and North Burnett Times - - LOCAL NEWS - Ge­orge Smith

THE re­gion is feel­ing the ef­fects of a lack of rain. De­spite storms across theNorth Bur­nett this week, it has been a long wait since the last sig­nif­i­cant rain­fall. Af­ter scorch­ing week­ends, Gayn­dah and Monto both reached a top tem­per­a­ture of 39 de­grees on Mon­day and hu­mid­ity dropped as low as 21% in Monto on Satur­day. Farm­ers like Rus­sel Larsen, a dairy and lucerne pro­ducer in the Monto district, are in no doubt about the sever­ity of the sit­u­a­tion. Mr Larsen sits on the lo­cal drought com­mit­tee and said the lack of rain was a prob­lem when the Christ­mas and new year pe­riod was the main plant­ing time for sum­mer crops. “I am al­ready six weeks be­hind in plant­ing, and so far there is no for­age for any sort of cat­tle, so de­mand for lucerne is very high,” Mr Larsen said. “By this stage there should be enough for­age, but with so lit­tle rain there is now un­prece­dented de­mand for mo­lasses-based feed sup­ple­ments. “It’s full-time for sup­pli­ers of mo­lasses.” Kew­pie Monto man­ager Deb Mitchell said it was a sad time at the moment for all farm­ers. And with beef cat­tle not bring­ing in the dol­lars, peo­ple on the land were try­ing to keep stock alive or they were hav­ing to shoot them, she said. With dam lev­els fall­ing and the cost of cart­ing water to cat­tle not vi­able, farm­ers have to rely on so­lar pumps and bores. “And farm­ers need to keep their worm­ing pro­grams up to date, and get­ting rid of par­a­sites will help the an­i­mals get through the sum­mer,” she said. “Un­til the de­cent rain comes, there is no sim­ple so­lu­tion.” The Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy is fore­cast­ing rain for the re­gion to­mor­row. How­ever, the bureau pre­dicts a change back to dry con­di­tions next week.

Photo: Ge­orge Smith

DRY SPELL: Gavin Mitchell of Kew­pie Monto col­lects some stock feed for a lo­cal farmer cop­ing with the hot, dry weather.

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