Rains Bring Relief to Australian Drought-Affected Farmers

Rains Bring Relief to Australian Drought-Affected FarmersRains Bring Relief to Australian Drought-Affected Farmers

Australia's east coast received some respite from drought on Monday after the heaviest showers in weeks, but analysts warned any relief would be temporary without heavier rains. Nearly half of the state of New South Wales—one of country's biggest agricultural producing regions—received around 10 millimeters of rain early on Monday, data from Australia's Bureau of Meteorology showed, Reuters reported.

The showers are a welcome boost for farmers and graziers in the state, 99% of which is in drought. Much of New South Wales received just 10 mm over the whole of July. "Any rain is good rain. It will encourage a bit of pasture growth for livestock producers but without follow-up showers, the impact will be temporary," said Phin Ziebell, an agribusiness economist at the National Australia Bank.

Short-range weather forecasts show no further showers for at least five days.

  Sliding Crop Yields

Australia's agricultural production is set to shrink after New South Wales received less than 20% of typical rainfall over the past three months. Australia's wheat crop is expected to fall to a decade low this season, the country's chief commodity forecaster said in June, but warned it could fall further without rains.

With the country's agricultural industry warning of widespread bankruptcies as a result of the drought, Australia's government on Sunday said it would provide $140 million in payments to farmers and to support mental health initiatives and community groups.

The country's peak rural advocacy group, the National Farmers Federation welcomed the package that will cover up to 50% of the full cost of transporting fodder and water for stock and taking livestock to pasture, slaughter or sale. However, some farmers said a cap of A$20,000 ($14,800) per farm business was inadequate.

"In the last quarter we spent A$40,000 [$29,500] on transport bills so we have already reached the capped limit," said Gavin Moore, a dairy farmer in Glenmore, 79 km south west of Sydney.


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