Dry winter hits Scenic Rim but farmers handling conditions

LEAN ON ME: Farmer Greg Dennis from Tamrookum's 4 Real Milk says those battling the drought need to know they can talk to somebody.
LEAN ON ME: Farmer Greg Dennis from Tamrookum's 4 Real Milk says those battling the drought need to know they can talk to somebody.

SCENIC Rim farmers say they are handling dry winter conditions reasonably well compared with graziers in NSW and the west who are struggling with a vicious drought.

After receiving 61mm in March, Beaudesert has seen a combined total of just 53mm, including 7.6mm in June and 24.4mm in July.

A measly 0.8mm has fallen so far this month.

Tamrookum farmer Greg Dennis from 4 Real Milk said this amount of rainfall was not uncommon for this time of the year.

“It’s pretty dry,” he said.

“There’s no question.”

“It hasn’t rained properly on our property since March but winter and spring is usually pretty dry in this region, although we potentially see storm rain in spring leading into summer.

“We’re still okay because we had a good summer and still have access to irrigation from the Logan River but outside of the irrigated paddocks there is no feed. It’s dead and brown.”

AgForce Queensland has welcomed federal government support announced last week to help drought-affected farmers.

AgForce president Grant Maudsley said more than half of Queensland was drought declared and the prolonged nature of the drought was taking an enormous financial, emotional and environmental toll on many communities.

“Parts of western and southern Queensland have been in drought for more than six years, which has overwhelmed even the best efforts of producers to prepare,” he said.

Mr Dennis said the primary impact of the drought on local farmers was far less severe than it had been further inland but it was still being felt.

“It has pushed the costs of operation up,” he said. 

“There is a flow-on effect.

“Any feed needing to be bought is much more expensive.

“Prices of hay, silage and grain are pushing to record high levels, so we are still feeling the costing pressure from the drought.”

Heavy frosts this season had also slowed grass growth and made life difficult for local producers.

Mr Dennis said coastal farmers had above average rainfall for eight to 10 years and it was hard to comprehend what New South Wales and western Queensland graziers were going through.

“They’re unable to grow feed with irrigation and having to buy feed, and running out of stock water and when it gets to the point of animals on your farm dying that can be very depressing,” he said.

“Farmers do the best they can to care for their animals and it knocks you around.”

When asked if he had a message of support for those farmers in other parts of the country who are at the mercy of the drought, Mr Dennis, said it was important those struggling talk to someone.

“Farmers need to know they can talk to a mate,” he said. “Don’t bottle it up and don’t feel like it’ll burden anyone.”

The Weather Bureau has forecast dry and dangerous fire conditions for Beaudesert for the next week.

Temperatures are expected to range from two to 30 degrees with less than five per cent chance of rain.