Forbes farmers will be watching the skies over the next month with good rains needed to lay the foundation for winter crops.
Still, with the state’s north a dustbowl after yet another hot and dry summer, we’re doing quite well.
Landmark agronomist Graham Falconer said Forbes was better positioned than much of the state, having had a successful 2013.
“To the north was very dry, to the south was frosted,” he said.
“But it was really only one rain that got us through – we had 50mm in September.”
Forbes also got valuable rains in January this year.
“January rainfall was only on par with average, but Forbes was the only area that got those rains,” Mr Falconer said.
“It didn’t help things much because of the hot weather, but it did help with water supplies.”
Cattle drover Ben Williamson, from Glen Innes, was on the road near Forbes earlier this month with 940 Angus cross steers. He’d been on the road for nearly five months.
Mr Williamson said we could expect to see more cattle on local roads, as the Forbes district was faring much better than most of NSW for pasture and water supplies on travelling stock routes (TSRs).
Mr Falconer said the prolonged hot, dry conditions were becoming concerning even around Forbes.
Looking to the forecast, there is a 70 per cent chance of 5-10mm both Friday and Saturday, with a chance on Sunday as well.
It will only wet the whistle of crop growers.
“At the moment there’s no subsoil moisture in most areas,” Mr Falconer said.
“The autumn rains are going to be essential coming into the sowing season.”
Farmers met with federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce last week to highlight the lack of drought assistance available in New South Wales.
There is no drought policy in place until July and no Exceptional Circumstances (EC) measures.
NSW Farmers Western Division spokesman Wayne Newton told The Land the situation was a natural disaster.
“But it is disaster by stealth,” he said.
“The pressure on people builds over time and there is no end in sight.”
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