CHANGES: Cattle farmer Will Wilson said he believed drought was a normal part of regional farming.
CHANGES: Cattle farmer Will Wilson said he believed drought was a normal part of regional farming. Helen Spelitis

New survey exposes farmers' financial suffering

RESULTS from AgForce Queensland's 2018 drought survey reveal farmers had their annual incomes halved because of drought.

Other findings were that 60 per cent of producers had less than half of their potential water supply, 10 per cent had no surface water, almost one quarter of grain growers did not plant a crop all year and 81.5 per cent of cattle and sheep producers were running less than three quarters of their usual livestock numbers.

Beef cattle producer Will Wilson from Calliope said he viewed drought as an inevitable part of farming.

He said he was positive about business regardless of drought season.

"The season will come and the season will go," Mr Wilson said.

He said the main challenge was managing resources ahead of time.

"We need to have water storages that can sustain the cattle through the dry period, we need to manage our overland flow."

"Our biggest problems in a drought is the oversupply of dry carbon or cardboard, cattle won't perform on cardboard, when the grass gets old and dry." In regards to government drought subsidies, Mr Wilson said regional communities required a balanced spread of assets between farmers.

"It doesn't matter whether producers have one cow or 100,000 cows, every one of those cows needs the same amount of help," he said.

"We need to have (funds) evenly spread."

AgForce general president Grant Maudsley said the survey results highlighted the resilience of farmers in the face of adversity.

"While almost half of those surveyed rated the financial and personal impacts of this drought as worse than previous droughts, about two-thirds were optimistic about the long- term outlook for their businesses," Mr Maudsley said.

An El Nino alert issued by the Bureau of Meteorology last month indicated the Gladstone region was unlikely to receive enough rainfall to escape drought soon, and suffered a high risk of bush fires and longer heatwaves.



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