‘Desperate’ crop shortages to continue, despite rain
GYMPIE region graziers faces a desperate feed shortage, as drought and bushfires decimate pasture and destroy stocks of hay and grain, Gympie farm supply businessman Tom Grady said yesterday.
“And there is nothing to be done about it,” Mr Grady said yesterday.
“It’s the worst I’ve seen it in at least 20 years. I think it was 1992, 28 years ago, when we last had a situation like this.”
Even rain would not be a quick fix, because so much was needed to restore groundwater and provide for new pasture and fodder crops.
“It’s really hard to source fodder, particularly hay,” he said.
“Even bag lots of stockfeed, which are normally available, are in short supply because manufacturers are behind in some cases.
The rain we have had so far, while welcome, would not be enough for stockfeed producers to get started again, unless we have a lot more of it for the rest of summer and autumn.
“They need rain each week for at least a month,” he said. “They need two inches a week to even ease the burden and you’d need follow up rain after that.
“It’s not a good position and people are having to ration their stock.
“The trouble is if you ration the stock too much they lose condition and then they can’t be sold.
“It’s really desperate. People are having to order and then they’re in a queue and there’s nothing to be done about it.”
Elisa and Kevin James at Southside Produce said customers were ordering in advance and feed was “going out as fast as it’s coming in.”
Rex Carney at Gympie Feed Barn, said his business was carrying “a little bit of hay but was having to source feed from further afield.
“I hate doom and gloom but it is a little bit like that.
“The next couple of months are going to be tough,” he said.
“It’s not just hay and chaff that are hard to get. Grain and protein meal is also affected. There is a knock-on effect on a lot of things,” he said.
Afternoon showers delivered 6mm to the Gympie rain gauge yesterday afternoon and the bureau is predicting more of the same today, with a “very high” 90 per cent chance of up to 30mm, with the chance of a thunderstorm.
Tomorrow should also provide a 70 per cent chance of showers up to 8mm, with reasonable chances of rain every day through to next Friday.