Rural Aid and Aussie Helpers working with national charity regulator

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has sought assurances from Rural Aid and Aussie Helpers that money and goods being donated are reaching those in need.

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Key points

  • Regulator stresses not an investigation
  • Charities co-operating with regulator
  • Social media a source of claims

The ACNC said it was working the with the drought relief charities after concerns were raised about their operations.

For some time now charities have been delivering feed, food hampers and financial grants to drought-affected families.

Commissioner Gary Johns said the concerns focused on delivery of goods, but would not reveal which state they were from.

“They [complaints] are very recent and actually very few but they are sufficient enough to worry us that money and other relief was not getting through,” he said.

Special Drought Envoy Barnaby Joyce said he had heard of concerns about charity donations and called for transparency.

“I want to make sure people do not lose that generous spirit and just understand this is a process there to give them certainty that the money donates finds its appropriate home,” he said.

Charities co-operate

Rural Aid and Aussie Helpers are cooperating with the Commission.

In fact co-founder of Aussie Helpers, Brian Egan, said he asked the regulator to investigate after social media users accused them of fraud.

“These people on Facebook are causing the damage. That is why we had to get legal people on to it,” he said.

“Some of the things these people are saying are just so far out of left field it is ridiculous.”

He also said to date the charity had received more than $2 million during September and October but spent more than $3 million on drought relief.

Meantime Rural Aid CEO Charles Alder said 1,500 families had received hay and many more vouchers, water and other forms of assistance.

“To get to all those people … takes time and it just cannot be done overnight,” he said.

Commissioner Johns said he also understood charity work was a huge undertaking, with a lot of money and resources to manage.

“Sometimes it is difficult to manage it all and to get it out the door and I think that is where the complaints come in,” he said.

“We actually are there to help these and other charities to make sure they can manage the volume of all those good intentions.”

Source: ABC News 2018-11

Water prices double, makes farmers think twice about profitability of crops

Growers are struggling to keep up with doubling water prices brought on by little rain and high demand.

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Wine grape grower Jack Papageorgiou said that many producers he had spoken to had sold up to 50 per cent of their permeant water during the Millennium Drought and were now feeling the pinch.

“They’ll be in a difficult situation when the price of water goes to this sort of point — and we don’t know how high it’s going to go,” he said.

Current water entitlement prices are estimated at a little less than $5,000 per megalitre and some stakeholders have predicted the value will rise to more than $7,000 before Christmas.

While the Central and Renmark Irrigation Trusts have said that water on the temporary market has more than doubled in price compared with this time last year. Renmark Irrigation Trust’s Peter Duggin has echoed the concerns of farmers.

“It’s probably something a lot of people are fearful of and are wondering just where and when water entitlement prices will stop rising,” he said.

Growers questioning whether crops worth planting

Fruit grower Nathan Jericho has been looking at the market for long-term sustainability.

His Barmera property in South Australia grows wine grapes, watermelons and pumpkins, and Mr Jericho has started to pay more attention to the water market to estimate whether he will gain any profit from his crops this season.

“I think if it started heading towards more than $500-$600 per megalitre … then maybe after that we would start to question ‘do we put maybe as much in? We can only hope that if the price of water goes up, then the price of the produce will go up as well.”

Adding to the monetary strain for irrigators, less water is now available for growers because more than 2,000 gigalitres of water is now owned by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, which irrigation experts have labelled ‘significant’ as roughly 30 per cent of water has been taken out of the system.

The transfer of water was part of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to ensure environmental benefits could occur to look after the Murray River and the ecology around the river.

“While that’s a good thing … the irrigation community now do not have access to that 2,200 gigalitres worth of water,” Mr Duggin said. “[It comes] at a time when there’s been an expansion of plantings and an increasing of plantings that use higher water levels.

“The supply of water is certainly coming back, both through the MDBP but even more crucially through the impending drought that we appear to be in, in South Australia, and certainly the drought we are definitely in, in all of New South Wales and much of Victoria.”

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder has defended its procurement of the water Central Irrigation Trust CEO Gavin McMahon has referenced an Aither report that indicated that while the water market is strained, it can survive the season.

But vineyard owner Donald Heward has been less worried about the immediate future, but is instead looking further ahead.

“I think this year we’re going to battle through quite good, but if it doesn’t rain, next year’s going to be probably a bit of a horror story,” Mr Heward said.

Source: ABC News 2018-11

Bob Katter pledges Coalition support in return for big bucks to flow for north Queensland irrigation schemes

A historic agreement between Kennedy MP Bob Katter and the Federal Government will see funds flow for two massive irrigation projects in north Queensland’s interior.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has promised $180 million for the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme on the Flinders River, Queensland’s longest.

A further $54 million will be spent on building Big Rocks Weir on the Burdekin River near Charters Towers in the first step of the massive Hells Gates Dam proposal.

In return, Mr Morrison wrote to Mr Katter seeking continued support for supply and confidence on the floor of Federal Parliament, where a recent loss in the Wentworth by-election has left the Morrison Government without a clear majority.

Mr Katter said the project will invigorate the economy of north Queensland.

“[Hells Gates Dam] is a project with 20,000 jobs to north Queensland’s economy. It’ll supply Townsville with the most adequate and cheapest water supply of any city in Australia.”

Mr Katter said the potential for the completed project to supply water, power and bio-energy was enormous.

“It will produce almost all of north Queensland’s electricity and 70 per cent of Australia’s petrol needs, with zero emissions,” he said.

“There is only one weapon against drought, and that is your ability to grow grass,” Mr Katter said.

Doubts raised

But Townsville-based Senator Ian McDonald warned the money for the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme was conditional on the project meeting certain conditions.

“It’s got a long way to go before any money goes towards that,” he said. “It has to get some sort of feasibility study, it has to have a business case, it has to, of course, get Queensland Government approval.

“And I can tell you for 20 years we’ve been trying to get some form of water storage along the Flinders River from Labor governments in Queensland.

Senator McDonald was more optimistic about the Big Rocks Weir, planned for upstream of the present Burdekin Falls Dam.

“It’s a do-able project, again it requires, of course, approval of the owners of the river, which as I always point out are the Queensland Government,” Senator McDonald said.

Project welcomed

Charters Towers Regional Council Mayor Liz Schmidt said Big Rocks Weir had long been identified as a source of water for thousands of hectares of fertile land.

“The community is very excited … it’s something we’ve been looking at for a decade,” she said. “There’s money for an Environmental Impact Statement and also the potential business case. The balance of it would be providing the infrastructure of that weir.

Small scale cropping has been practiced along the Flinders River near the towns of Hughenden and Richmond before, with sorghum and fodder the main products.

Chairman of the Hughenden Irrigation Corporation, Shane McCarthy, said enhancing that production through the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme has been a dream since 1985.

“[$180 million] will go a long way to building a large water storage facility to the north of the town for irrigation,” he said.

Mr McCarthy said the scheme would allow the drought-stricken community to prepare for dry conditions by attracting additional industries to town.

Mr McCarthy said a best case scenario would see the project underway within three to four years.

“I’d like it happen tomorrow but these things don’t happen overnight. As soon as possible, I’m hoping,” he said.

Flinders Shire Mayor Jane McNamara said the region was a huge untapped resource.

“CSIRO actually did a lot of studies along the Flinders River a few years ago and there is absolutely thousands of hectares of arable land.

“There are so many worthy projects across Kennedy, so I’m hoping that Bob [Katter] sets his sights a lot wider.”

Source: ABC News 2018-11

Water warning to irrigators as demand rises heading into summer

The total amount of water stored in the Murray Darling Basin’s dams has dropped below the 50 per cent mark, signalling the need for irrigators, industry operators and environmental water managers to continue their close watch on water availability as summer approaches.

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That’s according to Murray Darling Basin Authority head of River Operations, Andrew Reynolds.

“With dry conditions expected into summer, we’re anticipating the high demand for water to continue,” Mr Reynolds said. “Across the Basin, we have 10,848 gigalitres of water in storage right now, which translates to 49pc of capacity. This time last year storages were at 71pc.

“The last time we had a similar level of water in storage at the start of November was in 2015, when the dams were 44 per cent full. In the course of that season we saw levels drop to a low of 25 per cent in February before heavy winter and spring rains in the southern Basin returned the dams to 82pc by the start of November 2016.”

Mr Reynolds said it was critically important for water users to plan ahead and consider a range of scenarios, including that dry conditions might continue.

“The water market is available to help people to use their carryover and buy, keep or sell allocations on the open market,” he said. “We don’t know how long the drought will last, and will continue to plan for the possibility that storage levels will be a concern into next year.”

Mr Reynolds said the continuing drought in New South Wales and Queensland meant the state-run storages in the northern Basin were all well below 50pc capacity.

Of note, the larger Copeton and Burrendong dams are at 21pc and 24pc respectively, and Menindee Lakes are at 7pc with drought in the north meaning the Upper Darling River has delivered minimal inflows.

“In the southern Basin, at all times we manage the Hume and Dartmouth dams and Lake Victoria to maximise the amount of water available for allocation in the River Murray system by the New South Wales, Victorian and South Australian governments.

“While the Lake Victoria storage was at its lowest volume since 2009 for the start of October, this was a result of delaying the transfer of water from Hume Dam so that should any tributary inflows have occurred over winter and spring they could have been captured in Lake Victoria.

“The River Murray is now running high as we transfer water downstream to meet orders for irrigation on the way to topping up the levels in Lake Victoria in preparation for high demand over summer.”

“Along with many water entitlement holders, we’re keeping a constant eye on what’s happening and we’re working with the state governments, the Bureau of Meteorology and local communities to make sure we have the best possible information to guide our operation of the river—that’s our focus right now.”

Murray–Darling Basin storage levels are updated fortnightly on the MDBA website.

Source: Farmonline 2018-11

 

 

Prominent drought charities in regulator’s spotlight

Two of the country’s largest drought charities are being examined by the national charity watchdog following a Fairfax investigation.

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Australians have donated tens of millions of dollars in recent months to help farmers as they face the worst drought in decades. Now the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission has sought assurances from Aussie Helpers and Rural Aid – the charity behind the popular Buy a Bale Campaign – that donations are going to those in need.

“We have contacted two charities who are coordinating drought relief efforts to ensure donated goods and funds are being managed appropriately,” ACNC Commissioner Gary Johns said.

“ACNC staff have visited the operations of the charities and we are working with them to understand their work and confirm they have procedures and practices in place to manage the large number of donations they have received.”

The watchdog receives financial accounts from charities each year and has the power to revoke their registrations, denying them tax concessions.

Herald investigation in August found that Aussie Helpers, run by Queensland couple Brian and Nerida Egan, had retained large cash reserves from year to year.

Of the $14 million Aussie Helpers received over a five-year period, $6 million had been spent or donated, according to accounts provided to the ACNC and the Herald.

Mr Egan, a veteran of the defence forces, said in 2015 that farmers were “on death row” but Aussie Helpers booked yearly operating surpluses of up to $2.6 million in the five years up to 2016-2017.

“We don’t just use money because we’ve got it,” he said in August. “You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, or the next year or the next year or the next year.”

Mr and Mrs Egan said they had never received money from the charity but a board decision allows them to live in a five-bedroom house in Charleville in central Queensland, owned in the charity’s name.

Mr Egan said a home with a pool purchased near Bundaberg had been intended as a holiday destination but too few farmers could afford to leave their properties, leading them to sell it.

Shortly after the August story, Aussie Helpers announced it would donate $2 million in prepaid Visa cards to 500 families “struggling to survive in the worst drought in memory”.

Another charity, Rural Aid, has received millions of dollars this year from the public and major corporate partners such as Qantas and Woolworths. The charity had come under pressure for its spending on staff. In 2016-2017, Rural Aid spent $354,000 on wages and received $951,000 in donations.

Of that, $110,000 went to chief executive Charles Alder. Mr Alder also owns a private company, Charity Hub Pty Ltd, which he said provided office space to Rural Aid at a market rate.

“We certainly don’t overpay ourselves, that’s for sure,” Mr Alder said in August, claiming the 2016-2017 figure would not be representative.

Another company run by Mr Alder, The Give Back Campaign, went into liquidation in 2016 owing $29,000.

Mr Alder said on Monday the ACNC had visited his charity’s Brisbane office for a “full and frank conversation” that did not involve opening their financial accounts.

“They certainly learned a lot and had a greater understanding of what we do and how we do it,” he said.

A report in The Australian in October said Agriculture Minister David Littleproud had personally received “documentary evidence” alleging misuse of drought donations, which he had referred to authorities.

The ACNC said secrecy provisions prevented it from commenting in detail on its work with the drought relief efforts.

But the commissioner Mr Johns said “both charities have fully cooperated” with the ongoing enquiries.

Aussie Helpers and the Special Envoy for Drought Assistance and Recovery, Barnaby Joyce, have been contacted for comment.

Source: Farm Weekly 2018-11

Cherry growers expect largest crop in Australia’s history as export demand soars to new highs

Cherry producers across the country are on track for a bumper season, and early crop forecasts suggest this year’s crop will reach new record highs, making it Australia’s largest cherry crop in history.

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Known as one of Australia’s favourite Christmas fruits, consumers might see a higher supply than usual this year, but growers are setting their sights on increasing their export numbers considerably.

Cherry Growers Australia president Tom Eastlake said all production areas were recording a good crop, ranging from a light to heavy crop depending on the region.

The national record for the Australian cherry crop is about 15,000 tonnes.

“The forecast at the moment depends on how bullish you want to be… we would have to be starting this year at a baseline of 20 per cent higher than 15,000 tonnes, so it will be about 18,000 tonnes,” Mr Eastlake said. “Assuming we don’t have any adverse weather events come through, I would be reasonably confident we hit that mark.”

Riverland cherry grower Leon Cotsaris started harvesting early variety cherries at his orchard in Renmark, South Australia two weeks ago, and said growing conditions this year were great.

“We had a fairly mild spring, which has been pretty good, although it’s been very dry,” he said.

Mr Cotsaris said fruit size and quality this year were good, but dependent on weather conditions in coming weeks.

Cherry Growers Association of South Australia president and Adelaide Hills grower Nick Noske said they had been expecting high yields last year, but many growers’ crops were severely damaged by hail and rain.

“It had quite a negative impact on their harvestable yields and limited options on what they could do with the fruit.. it was difficult to export marked and damaged fruit,” he said.

Export drives high production volumes

Despite a bumper crop, consumers might not see extreme price drops this season as growers look to export markets.

Due to the reopening of the Vietnamese market and new market access to China last year, demand for Australia cherries is high.

Mr Eastlake said the willingness of Australian producers to export had never been higher.

“We’ve seen the largest number of export registration for Australian cherries in history this year,” he said.

“I don’t know if we will hit half this year, but we should fall somewhere between 35 and 50 per cent.”

Mr Cotsaris said one of the challenges was to grow the quality the export market required.

“If you are asking to get good money, you also have to have the quality that withstands transport and air freight to different countries.”

The increased number of birds is another task many growers need to tackle this year, installing costly netting to protect their fruit.

Mr Cotsaris said the increased number of birds was due to the drought, and cherries being one of the fruits they could get hold of easily if not netted.

“Netting costs money and time, it does damage the fruit where the net rubs against the tree and the fruit, but at least you are saving your crop. It is challenging but a necessity,” he said.

Cherry tree plantings ramp up across country

As more export markets are expected to open, growers have been busy getting new tree plantings in the ground.

Mr Eastlake said growers had established new production areas over recent years and there were additional plantings going into the ground in the Riverland and Sunraysia.

Mr Cotsaris planted an extra 12,000 trees to complement the existing 17,000 trees in his orchard.

Source: ABC News 2018-11

Namoi Cotton posts $14.3m half year profit

Namoi Cotton has posted a $14 million after-tax profit for its half-year to August 31, but flagged the full-year profit will be only $4m to $7m.

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Its forecast of a deflated full-year result for 2018-19 reflects the impact of Namoi’s costly ginning maintenance program, which incurs expenses in the second half of the year.

Conversely, most of the company’s revenue is recorded in the first six months.

Like the rest of the cotton sector, Namoi is also bracing for the coming 2019 crop to likely yield about half last season’s lint volumes because drought has seriously drained irrigation water reserves.

Chief executive officer, Jeremy Callachor, said a 20 per cent increase in the size of the cotton crop harvested last autumn contributed to Namoi’s strong underlying financial performance.

However, the company’s 15pc share in the Cargill Oilseeds Australia and Cargill Processing partnership was hurt by “challenging cotton seed pricing parameters”.

The Cargill factor cut $3.1m from Namoi’s profit result, subsequently pushing the first-half profit result below the $15.8m recorded for the same period in 2016-17.

Highlights included ginning volumes up from 1.01m bales last season to 1.2m bales.

Namoi’s ginning and cotton seed volumes along with the joint venture Namoi Cotton Alliance’s lint procurement volumes all benefited from the bigger 2018 crop, with the improved ginning throughput coupled with reduced variable costs.

NCA marketed 812,000 bales – up from 634,000 in 2016-17.

“The contribution from Namio cotton’s investment in NCA was broadly consistent with the prior half year,” Mr Callachor said.

“Improved marketing volumes were offset by lower commodity packing volumes lower trading margins and increased finance costs.”

Chairman, Tim Watson, said while extremely pleased with the half-year result, attention was now firmly focused on next year and the lack of general rainfall in the past 10 months.

Irrigation water allocations to farmers had been impacted, particularly in the northern part of the Murray Darling Basin.

Namoi Cotton is anticipating a total Australian cotton crop of about 2.1m bales in 2019 – down 53pc on this year.

“There is a large volume of country prepared for planting should a rainfall event occur between now and the beginning of December,” Mr Watson said.

“That could potentially result in a large dryland crop which may benefit Namoi Cotton.”

Full-year net cash flows from operating activities is expected to be within previous market guidance ranges of $18m and $21m.

The first half saw a $4.7m improvement in net cash flow on the prior half.

Source: Western Magazine 2018-11

High turnout at water recovery consultations, as Government extends consultations

Richard Anderson, Victorian Farmers Federation Water council chairman, said he was concerned plans to recover more water from the southern Basin were still on the table.

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Victorian Farmers Federation Water council chairman Richard Anderson says he’s concerned the Federal government appears to be “steaming ahead” with plans to recover an additional 450 gigalitres of water, as part of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Mr Anderson said the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources public consultations on additional socioeconomic criteria for on-farm projects across northern Victoria led to a high turnout of representatives from dairy, horticulture, rice and manufacturing from Victoria and New South Wales.

“The large turnout of farmers from both sides of the Murray River demonstrated the high level of concern about recovering more water through on-farm projects,” Mr Anderson said.’

Under the Plan, delivering the additional 450 gigalitres is dependent upon the water being recovered with neutral or positive socioeconomic impacts.

The Murray-Darling Ministerial Council agreed to develop additional program criteria, to ensure neutral or beneficial socio-economic outcomes for on-farm infrastructure, at its June meeting.

Mr Anderson said despite the very short notice, and with many farmers in the middle of hay season, large numbers turned out to voice their concerns on how the development and application of the socioeconomic test.

“We have been telling the Commonwealth for many years now that reducing the consumptive pool is damaging our communities. Even data published by the Murray Darling Basin Authority shows over 5000 jobs have been lost in Victoria alone,” Mr Anderson said.

“When asked about the distribution of where the additional 450 gigalitres would come from, the Commonwealth confirmed 400 gigalitres would come from the Southern Basin.

“Our messages are clear; getting the extra 450GL through on-farm efficiency measures will reduce the consumptive pool, drive up the price of water and flood communities when they attempt to deliver it.

“We believe one gigalitre for on-farm projects anywhere in the southern basin would hurt communities, let alone 400 gigalitres.”

We believe one gigalitre for on-farm projects anywhere in the southern basin would hurt communities, let alone 400 gigalitres.

Overwhelmingly, farmers emphasised that participating in previous on-farm projects requiring the transfer of water to the Commonwealth had hurt their businesses.

They indicated they were now more reliant on the temporary water.

“Rather than trying to assess the community and cumulative impact of water recovery project by project, the whole 450 gigalitres needs to be subjected to a test to see if communities can take any further recovery,” he said.

“Our regions are at a tipping point, our industries are most vulnerable due to dry conditions and taking more water from farmers will only hurt communities. Will the Commonwealth listen this time?” said Mr Anderson.

Meanwhile, the Federal government has extended the consultation time for the neutrality test criteria.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud said some communities visited during the initial stage of consultation have complained of short notice, not being informed, or of the address for the venue not being published on the web.

Mr Littleproud said that was disappointing and he had ordered the Department to go back again, where communities felt they hadn’t been heard.

“I’m not surprised complaints were received about this,” Mr Littleproud said. “Getting this neutrality test right is vital to the Basin Plan. We need to be dead sure there are no negative impacts from water recovery.

“That means we need to hear from everyone we can.

He said it was unreasonable to assume people could drop everything to attend, at short notice.

“It’s reasonable to think the address of the venue would be on a website where residents could see it.

“Communities need to have confidence in the neutrality test currently being consulted on. This means they need to know they’ve been heard.

Consultations have been extended by two weeks, until Friday, November 23.

“If communities want the Department of Agriculture to come back for further discussion, the Department of Agriculture will arrange additional meetings.

“Basin Water Ministers need to know what Basin communities think before decisions are made.”

Future consultation venues will be displayed online, and more notice will be given to local communities.

Giving longer notice of consultations had been difficult for the Department given the need for discussion and agreement with states on the proposed on-farm test before beginning.

Source: Stock & Land 2018-10

Finley Regulator makes water run on time

More irrigators along the Mulwala Canal will be able to get water when they need it, with the completion of the Finlay Town Regulator.

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  • Finley Town Regulator one of main irrigation assets on the Mulwala Canal
  • New infrastructure will give irrigators greater control of water timing and flow
  • Coalition Government invested $18 million in Deniliquin region works this winter​

More irrigators along the Mulwala Canal will be able to get water when they need it, with the completion of the Finlay Town Regulator.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud officially opened on the $1.9 million regulator, one of many infrastructure upgrades on the Mulwala Canal delivered this winter.

“Upgrades like this one will mean irrigators can make the best use of their water,” Minister Littleproud said.

“I know that irrigators in the NSW Murray have been doing it tough with NSW yet to make an allocation to general security this year.

“But when it does rain, and it will, being able to get it when you need it makes all the difference.

“The Mulwala Canal is vital to farmers and their communities.

“Construction was completed over winter and it was on time. It didn’t affect farm production.

“The Coalition Government’s investments in water infrastructure are reducing seepage and other water losses.

“Infrastructure upgrades have let Murray Irrigation draw on water conveyance allocations to get water to farmers even when a zero percent allocation for general security is in place.

“The new regulator will cut maintenance costs, increases safety and helps to future-proof water delivery in the region.

“We’ve invested a total of $18 million on projects like this in the region over winter giving the local economy a boost with workers coming into the area to make this project happen.”

Fast Facts:

  • Finley Town Regulator is one of the main regulator structures on the Mulwala Canal.
  • Murray Irrigation supplies water to over 1,357 farms, of which 49 percent grow rice.
  • Coalition Government investing $284m in upgrades to Murray Irrigation’s network.

Source: Minister for Agriculture 2018-11

Drought to intensify in NSW, SA and VIC

Bureau of Meteorology agriculture general manager Peter Stone has explained how the drought will worsen in parts of southern Australia.

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Farmers are facing more tough times over the next six months with the drought set to intensify in South Australia, Victoria and inland NSW.

Bureau of Meteorology agriculture general manager Peter Stone said hot and dry conditions were likely to continue with an 80 per cent chance of above average temperatures over summer.

As a result, a weak start is likely for Queensland’s dry-land summer production for next year.

“It has been unusually hot and dry in most of Australia this year and the year before and this is likely to continue for the next six months,” Mr Stone told the National Drought Summit in Canberra.

Average temperatures will continue to rise, but rainfall figures are harder to forecast, he said.

“Drought is normal, as is water surplus in Australia but it’s not predictable,” Mr Stone said.

National water storage is at about 58 per cent, down 12 per cent on this time last year, while in NSW levels are at 37 per cent.

Mr Stone said water storage levels were not expected to rise in the near future, with reduced supply and increased demand likely to see future falls.

“This water isn’t only for irrigation, it’s for drinking water in our rural towns,” he said.

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences executive director Steve Hatfield-Dodds told the summit the current drought is severe in some regions but covered a smaller area than previous events.

Climate effects are currently severe, but farm incomes are likely to be less affected than in previous droughts.

Dr Hatfield-Dodds warned of tensions between helping drought-affected farmers and promoting the best long-term industry performance.

“Supporting drought-affected farms has the potential, depending on how it’s done, to slow the process of farm consolidation and the growth in farm scale,” he said.

Source: Australian Associated Press 2018-11

Sources include: ABC Rural, The Land, The Weekly Times, Stock and Land, Stock Journal, Bloomberg, Farm Online, Queensland Country Life

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