Drought help for farmers on standby as the big dry threatens the region

The state government has placed drought assistance on standby as the lack of rain worsens the situation for farmers and growers within a 50 kilometre radius of Orange.

LOW LEVEL: NSW Farmers' Bruce Reynolds with grower Guy Gaeta at a dam on Mr Gaeta's Nashdale property. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 1004jkwater3

LOW LEVEL: NSW Farmers' Bruce Reynolds with grower Guy Gaeta at a dam on Mr Gaeta's Nashdale property. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 1004jkwater3

NSW Farmers has warned that if forecast significant rains due not occur this week the situation would become serious for graziers, grain producers and growers.

Sunday’s rain was welcomed but not enough to ease concerns.

Things are desperate, we are watching the skies closely.

Bruce Reynolds, NSW Farmers

A spokeswoman for Primary Industries and Regional Water minister Niall Blair said the situation was being watched closely.

“The government is monitoring the challenging conditions currently facing our producers,” she said.

“The Department of Primary Industries’ executive emergency management committee is working with Local Land Services to ensure regional assistance is available.

“The NSW State Co-ordination Centre is ready to be activated to manage a statewide response if required.

“Liaison officers are on standby at local and state levels and the response system is ready to be proactively initiated if conditions do not improve.”

Information, resources and apps to help farmers with information including calculators for feeding and transporting stock and drought mangement were on the www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au website.

NSW Farmers Orange branch chair Bruce Reynolds said low-interest loans were available for drought preparation.

Mr Reynolds said significant rainfall was forecast for this week.

“If we don’t get it, it is really going to get quite desperate,” he said.

“We have gone straight from frost into dry and warmer conditions.

“Things are desperate, we are watching the skies closely.”

Grower Guy Gaeta said government rules were stopping him expanding his dam and sinking bores to increase water storage capacity.

He said he would approach NSW Farmers and Mr Blair to call for changes.

“We can’t make our dams bigger so when we do get more rainfall like last year we can store it,” he said.

“We haven’t got enough water to grow our crops. We want the rules changed so we can stay viable,” he said.

Mr Blair’s spokeswoman said the limits were in place to ensure a balanced water supply for farmers, neighbours downstream and the environment.