LLS drought information workshops help thousands of farmers

DROUGHT HELP: Badger Babbage, James Cleaver, speak with senior land services officer for pastures Phil Cranney at an information session in Orange. Photo: JUDE KEOGH
DROUGHT HELP: Badger Babbage, James Cleaver, speak with senior land services officer for pastures Phil Cranney at an information session in Orange. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

Many central west farmers experienced extreme hardship due to the drought last year and continue to do so in 2019.

But an organisation’s drought information workshops in 2018 aimed  to provide landholders with various resources needed to help get them through the difficult time and they plan to provide help this year too.

In the last six months, Local Land Services staff visited 3012 landholders for one-on-one consultations, 19,058 landholders sought advice over the phone and 13,556 landholders attended an event, workshop or course.

The sessions varies from workshops to courses and were held in places such as Wellington, Bathurst and Mudgee.

As of January 8, 2019, more than 99 per cent of NSW was impacted by the drought, according to the Department of Primary Industries Combined Drought Indicator map.

In the Central West, 59.5 per cent of the region was in drought and 35.7 per cent was in intense drought.

It wasn’t much better in the Western region with 100 per cent of it drought impacted.

LLS Chair Richard Bull said the workshops tailored to suit the region they were run in, as landholders faced different issues in different parts of the state.

“Topics that were consistent across all regions included supplementary feeding advice in terms of rations and fodder advice especially in regards to trying different types of fodder,” Mr Bull said. 

“Animal health concerns were also constant, with our veterinarians providing advice and diagnose of diseases and conditions often common in drought years, such as acidosis (grain poisoning).”

Mr Bull said towards the end of the year many parts of the state received bad dust storms and continue to do so in 2019.

“Our staff have been talking with landholders about what to keep an eye out for in their livestock following a storm event," he said. 

“Our role during drought remains the same as any year - to assist landholders.”

Local Land Services will continue to deliver events, workshops and courses in 2019 to ensure landholders have the information and advice to make informed decisions during drought, Mr Bull said. 

"We have teams of veterinarians, livestock and pasture experts so for any land managers needing advice, please reach out to your closest office,” he said.