From mud to dust in 12 months, it's a dry argument for worried farmers | Photos

Barely a year ago Floyd Legge was enjoying 290 millimetres of rain falling on his property at Cudal.

This winter he has seen barely 40mm fall – and most of that was in one week.

The soil is turning to dust, crops and pastures have not seeded and he is having to supply feed to stock.

“It’s almost the complete reverse of last year,” he said.

“We had 290mm, it was exceptional, it was definitely out of the ordinary.

“I’d say that on the whole we had no measurable rain in June, we had about 3mm at the start of July and about 39mm at the start of August.

“We are feeding a lot of the stock.

“Late sown crops and pastures are either struggling or haven’t seeded at all.

“The soil is bone dry.”

The forecast for the rest of winter is not looking good for farmers with warm and dry conditions predicted into September.

“It would take 100-150mm right now,” he said.

Mr Legge’s family business has sheep and cattle on his 640 hectare property Ridgehaven as well as two properties near Forbes with a total combined area of about 2000 hectares.

He said that while the dry winter was concerning they were not looking to sell stock.

“We’ve always got strategies on hand because of our stud breeding programs,” he said.

That includes having grain in silos.

“It’s a yearly thing to make sure we have sufficient on-farm storage for when it does go dry,” he said.

“And the dams are at an OK level. They filled up last year.”

He said it took two-three years to fill dams and have sufficient water for troughs in all the paddocks.

Unusually the Central West is copping the big dry more than other parts of the state.

“This part is one of the worst affected areas.”

Mr Legge said southern and northern NSW had benefitted from being on the edge of big rains in Queensland and Victoria over winter.

“We’ve missed out in the middle of the state.”

He said neighbouring farms were feeling the affects to different extents.

“We’re all in a similar position, some of them would be more dependent on crops than we are.”

Mr Legge said some would be looking to sell stock but prices for both cattle and sheep were strong at the moment.

He said demand for exports was ensuring that there was no oversupply of stock in Australia right now.


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