MORE than 100 farmers from across the Central Tablelands expressed their fears and concerns over the widespread drought at an information session in Bathurst.
Currently, 100 per cent of the Central Tablelands has been declared in drought (68.3 per cent) or ‘drought onset’ (31.7 per cent).
The three-hour session on Thursday saw a number of experts talk about a range of topics including: livestock feeding and management, quick to feed options, animal health and available drought resources.
Speakers were from the NSW Rural Assistance Authority, the Rural Financial Counselling Service and the NSW Department of Primary Industries Rural Resilience Program.
Local Land Services (LLS) district vet Bruce Watt said he was keen to address a number of topics for the attendees.
“The really important thing is to get your feeding right, so the big issue is the amount of energy, the amount of protein that you’re feeding and obviously you’ve got to do it in an economical fashion,” he said.
“If you get that right, stock are often really healthy in a drought, we can have low mortality rates and stock do well.”
Dr Watt also spoke of stock disease during times of drought as well as farmers’ financial concerns as they tried to keep their stock fed and watered.
Rural support worker James Cleaver has been brought on by the NSW Department of Primary Industries to help drought-affected farmers.
“Financial stress is definitely an issue. Animal welfare is a big thing, farmers are very worried about their stock and don’t like seeing them do badly,” he said.
“Everything we’re saying is just about putting in a plan around destocking and feeding.
Everything we’re saying is just about putting in a plan around destocking and feeding.NSW Department of Primary Industries rural support worker James Cleaver
“If you go down the feeding path, then know what you’re paying for. If you choose to destock then manage your cash flow.”
While Mr Cleaver praised the 100-plus farmers who attended the drought information session, he said that he was “more worried about the people who aren’t here” and urged them to seek help if they need it.
- Anyone who is struggling can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for help.
Available drought assistance in NSW
THE DroughtHub website states that it provides a one-stop online destination for information on a vast range of services and support available to primary producers, their families and communities to prepare for and manage drought conditions.
“The NSW Government is committed to working closely with farmers, industry and stakeholders and has delivered a $300 million drought package to ensure NSW is better prepared for future drought conditions,” it reads.
“DPI makes every attempt to ensure the information supplied is current, however the individual circumstances of DroughtHub users should be taken into account when considering the linked service.”