Farmers are feeling the heat from El Nino, with some producers already in drought.
The weather pattern, declared on Tuesday afternoon, is expected to deliver warmer, drier conditions across eastern Australia, and parts of NSW are already drought-declared.
Peter Lake, who farms near Grafton on the NSW north coast, is experiencing drought conditions after battling floods 12 months ago.
“It turned from mud to concrete in a couple of weeks and suddenly everything was just dry. From flood to drought, climate change is making the changes more extreme,” Lake said.
Charity Rural Aid reported a 240 per cent spike over the past four months in demand for emergency drinking water from producers.
“The declaration is a formalisation of what they’re already living and experiencing and managing against,” John Walters from Rural Aid said. “The spike in fodder and water requests reflect the dry conditions.”
Queensland grain and cattle farmer Pete Mailler said he’s been preparing for an El Nino event for months, while other farmers have already been destocking.
“I changed crop selections and am busy fencing to make smaller paddocks to better manage our pastures,” he said.
“We’ve already been proactively managing for an El Nino this year, we expect a hotter and dryer spring and summer, we can’t afford to wait for the BoM to make their announcement to begin preparing.”
Sunshine Coast farmer Mick Dan wanted more support for farmers in times of need.
“We will be okay this summer, but if it’s a protracted El Nino event we will start to suffer.”