Wonderful rain, but it’s no drought breaker
Rain falling over the last few days has been a welcome sight for farmers around the district, but far more is needed.
Since Friday, a little over 30 millimetres of rain has been recorded at the Orange Airport gauge, with similar falls around the districts.
While the rain has been very welcomed, much more will be needed before we see an end to one of the worst droughts in living memory.
“You could say, it is great; everybody has copped it. It is great because it has started to rain, but we all really know that we need a lot more yet,” said McCarrons stock and station agent, Lindsay Fryer.
“Things are still crook, blokes are still feeding, it hasn't really changed much… Livestock don't get fat overnight and grass doesn't just grow overnight.”
Mr. Fryer said conditions now are the worst he has seen in his 30 years in the Orange district.
And as the dry continues, he said they are seeing greater numbers of steers, and even cows, being yarded for sale.
“We've sold all the steers, the young cattle off and it has continued to stay dry,” he said. “They don't see an end to it yet, so we are starting to see cows come to the market, cows that would never get sold before are now coming into our market and cows that are heavy with calf are coming to our market.”
Even if the season turns around soon, Mr. Fryer said the effects of this drought will be felt for many years. Stock numbers take time to recover and for some people, this drought might well be the final straw.
“This will take a bit of getting over,” he said. “What has got to happen now is you’ve got to have a build up of cattle, you've got to have blokes that want to get back into cattle… I think you'll see a few more properties come on the market, rural properties, in the next little while, especially the older generation who won't want to go through another one.”
Sometimes blunt honesty isn’t what we want to hear. That said, we must face reality and the reality is our farmers will need our help and support on all fronts for some time yet. Let’s not let a bit of rain move them from the media spotlight or from our minds. Let’s keep the momentum we’ve started going, and continue to be generous whenever opportunity presents itself.