Crop re­port card shows full ex­tent of drought’s im­pact

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE -

A DRY win­ter and poor start to spring has led to fore­cast win­ter crop pro­duc­tions falling by al­most a quar­ter.

Crop pro­duc­tion dropped 20 per cent be­low the 20 year av­er­age.

This is ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian Bu­reau of Agri­cul­tural and Re­source Eco­nom­ics and Sciences crop re­port for De­cem­ber.

Agri­cul­tural min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud said the dip showed the im­pact the drought has had on crop­ping.

“This lat­est crop re­port con­firms what farm­ers liv­ing and work­ing through this drought ex­pected,” he said.

The to­tal of pro­duc­tion of win­ter crops is es­ti­mated to have de­creased by 23 per cent to 29.3 mil­lion tonnes in 2018 to 2019.

“Many farm­ers also chose to cut crops planted for grain pro­duc­tion for hay be­cause of higher fod­der prices,” Mr Lit­tleproud said.

“The story of agri­cul­ture in Aus­tralia is just add rain, I know many ar­eas are do­ing it ex­tremely tough right now, but our farm­ers con­tinue to be re­silient.”

He said there was some en­cour­ag­ing news in the crop re­port.

“Late spring rain­fall has seen an in­crease in sum­mer crop plant­ing in Queens­land and north­ern New South Wales, but sig­nif­i­cant fol­low-up rain will be needed to en­sure pro­duc­tion,” Mr Lit­tleproud said.

The govern­ment is as­sist­ing farm­ers to man­age through the drought, in­vest­ing up to $7 bil­lion over time in new fund­ing.

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