Dry winter hits North Coast farmers hard

During August, the North Coast received less than 5mm of rain.
During August, the North Coast received less than 5mm of rain. Kirstin Payne

FARMERS in NSW have been negatively impacted by the dry winter season with below average rainfall received across 85% of the state - and the North Coast copped the worst of it.

During August, the North Coast received less than 5mm of rain.

Rainfall for NSW in total was 44% below average, making it the driest August for the last four years, according to the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

"Most of northern, central and western NSW, the Hunter Valley and Sydney basin received generally light and patchy rainfall of between 5 and 25mm,” NSW DPI seasonal conditions co-odinator Ian McGowen said.

"Unfortunately, the drier than normal conditions continued into early September.

"The continued warmer than normal daytime temperatures combined with a lack of topsoil moisture, frosts and grazing pressure meant pasture growth remained limited across much of inland NSW.

"The limited August rainfall and frequent frosts have caused winter crop prospects to continue to decline.

"In many areas, the number of frosts during the growing season has been much greater than normal.”

Severe frosts in mid to late August and early September in many areas caused stem and head frosting in cereals, with flower and pod abortion occurring in pulse and canola crops.

In eastern areas, more rainfall was received during August, but was insufficient to replenish depleted topsoil moisture reserves.

"The prospects for dryland summer cropping across many areas of northern NSW are poor, with August and early September rainfall insufficient to replenish depleted subsoil moisture reserves,” Mr McGowen said.

"Significant rainfall is required during September to allow a dryland summer crop to be sown in northern NSW.”

The Bureau of Meteorology's rainfall outlook for September to November indicates there is a near-equal chance of drier or wetter than normal conditions across most of NSW, although wetter than normal conditions are likely in the far north-east.

Topics:  dry winter rainfall

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