Heat is on for farmers
Lack of rain results in feed shortage
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.
DRY SPELL: Gavin Mitchell of Kewpie Monto collects some stock feed for a local farmer coping with the hot, dry weather.