Drought easing across the state
The November drought figures show that more of NSW has come out of drought, marking another positive month of improving conditions across the State.
Twenty seven per cent of the State is now drought declared, down from 38pc last month, 40pc is considered marginal and 33pc is satisfactory.
Storage levels for key dams are also up but not enough. As of the early November, total capacity of the State-managed dams is 55pc.
These are the best results we’ve seen since January 2002.
While the percentage of the State officially in drought has reached a three-year low, I think all of us would like to see more of NSW in the satisfactory zone.
Hopefully the positive trend seen over the past two months will continue.
Of course, the November figures do not factor in the flooding rains across the Central West and Wagga districts that occurred earlier this month.
The full impacts of those rains on overall drought conditions won’t be known until the December figures are released.
However, it’s important to note that many of the areas that received the heavy rains had already come out of drought.
Many rural communities have had little lasting relief from the drought and those that have still face the challenge of its long-term financial impact.
This is why the State Government recently committed a further $15 million to ensure farmers can go on accessing our many drought support programs.
The NSW Labor Government will continue to support farmers for as long as that help is needed.
CRC against animal pests
I recently helped launch a new facility to aid important research in pest animal control.
The National Invasive Animals CRC will help research methods of controlling and reducing the impacts of pest animals on Australia’s landscape and our primary industries. Introduced animal species cost the Australian economy many millions of dollars each year in lost agricultural production and environmental damage.
For example, the combined social, economic and environmental costs of the most serious invasive animals have been estimated to total at least $720 million per annum.
Some 40 individual partners have come together to participate in this CRC, including the NSW Department of Primary Industries out of Orange, which has a long reputation of developing innovative ways to address invasive animals.
The NSW component of the Centre is located in Orange and will help develop new strategies to reduce the impact of pest animals, work to reduce the spread of carp and other pest fish species in inland waterways, provide community education and training and investigate more humane methods of eradicating feral animals.
The Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre will bring long-term benefits to landholders and the economy, while helping to protect Australia’s unique biodiversity for future generations.
This column appears in Agriculture Today.