Running from drought: nearly 90 per cent of state drought free

The good news seasonal map for NSW for October.
The good news seasonal map for NSW for October.

Nearly 90 per cent of NSW is now out of drought, according to the latest seasonal update issued by the Department of Primary Industries on Friday.

The remarkable change from just a year ago carries on this year, with just two tiny pockets, one in the far north, and one in the far south, declared as in drought.

No area of NSW is now in intense drought. There is still some areas that are drought affected and intensifying but this area is a lot less than last month, including an improvement in conditions on the North-West Plains and Slopes.

The NSW DPI said the Combined Drought Indicator (CDI) shows 88 per cent NSW is in the Non-Drought or Recovery categories.

"Favourable spring conditions have supported recovery from the 2017-2020 drought in many regions," the Seasonal Outloom says.

"Rainfall and storm activity has caused damage and harvest difficulty for some winter crop districts and horticultural areas.

"The official climate outlook indicates moderate to high probabilities of above median rainfall across NSW for the next three months.

"Most of NSW received average to well above average rainfall in October. This has supported high levels of spring productivity, especially pasture growth, and increased the confidence of longer-term drought recovery in most regions. Most of the northern irrigation region has low stored water availability, though there have been reports of increased stream flows in some areas.

"Heavy rain, storm and isolated hail damage has impacted the 2020 winter crop harvest. Yield and grain quality loss has occurred in some areas, especially in the north and western areas of the cropping zone. Crop lodging is also becoming an increasing problem across large areas.

Storms will still pose a major risk to crop quality as the harvest continues.

Storms will still pose a major risk to crop quality as the harvest continues.

"The current Seasonal Outlook signals further risk of storm damage and wet harvest conditions as more of the NSW winter crop reaches maturity. There have also been reports of storm related damage occurring to emerging summer crops.

"Drier areas of the state, particularly in parts of western and north-eastern NSW received rain in October. Despite this, the variability between districts and farms remains evident and consistent follow up rain is still needed to increase the confidence of drought recovery.

READ MORE:

"The current three-month Seasonal Outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) indicates moderate to high probabilities of above median rainfall across NSW.

"This is largely driven by the La Nia event occurring in the tropical Pacific which is forecast to persist into February 2021. La Nia is associated with above to well-above median rainfall during spring and summer, including the possibility of flood events.

"The CDI and its individual rainfall, soil moisture and crop/pasture growth metrics are leading biophysical indices of drought. While the CDI currently points to a strengthening recovery and transition out of biophysical drought for large areas of NSW, production and economic responses lag behind the CDI.

"Full drought recovery can take 6-18 months depending on a number of influences including rainfall. Further information about the correct interpretation of the CDI at a region and industry level is provided in the regional breakdown section of this report."

This story Nearly 90 per cent of NSW out of drought first appeared on The Land.