Dry spells a disaster for our farmers

TRYING TIMES: Fred Morgan says we need rain – now.
TRYING TIMES: Fred Morgan says we need rain – now.

DAMS are dry, stocks are low and cattle are on their last few weeks of feed.

Unless the Clarence Valley gets a decent downpour in the next month or two, cattle farmer Fred Morgan said we were on struggle street.

It comes as the Northern Rivers experiences its second-driest 12-month-period in more than a century.

"These are really trying times," Mr Morgan said.

"My dams are the lowest I have ever seen them.

"Some are completely dry and others are going dry."

He predicted the last of his dams to be totally dry within eight weeks if we didn't get some rain.

"The biggest problem we have then is carting in water, or carting cattle off to water," Mr Morgan said.

"Water is as important as air."

The seasoned producer said we were coming off the back of another dry year in 2013, which made it twice as hard for farmers to get ahead.

"I've been through similar times in 1964-65 when we had two very dry years following each other," he said.

"We got a bit of a break in August when we got eight inches in one night, but then it didn't rain again until Christmas.

"We got through that, but these are very trying times today."

Mr Morgan said his best piece of advice to other cattle producers was to keep numbers at a manageable size.

"Through my earlier experiences the greatest mistake anyone can make is to overstock," he said.

Fingers and toes are crossed around the Valley that Mother Nature delivers a serious downpour.

"We need run-off - it's the wrong time of year to expect it, but it is possible," Mr Morgan said.

"Or we could get early storms, which is another scenario that may save our bacon."

If weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke is on the money, Mr Morgan's prayers may be answered as we approach a wet week ahead, but whether it will be enough is debateable.

Mr Dutschke said the Clarence Valley could expect between 40-80mm of rain between now and the weekend with the majority expected to fall on Saturday night and Sunday.

"There is the potential for some places to pick up their biggest rain since early last year," he said.

But he said farmers should make the most of it as there were no signs of big rain downfalls in the near future.


Chance of rain

Today: 60%

Tomorrow: 80%

Friday: 90%

Saturday: 90%

Sunday: 90%

Monday: 40%


Today: 6-20 deg

Tomorrow: 7-20

Friday: 8-21

Saturday: 9-20

Sunday: 10-19

Monday: 11-22

Topics:  cattle producers clarence valley primary producers weatherzone

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