Farmers hit hard by dry winter

The lack of rain this winter has affected crop production.
The lack of rain this winter has affected crop production.

THE Central West’s importance as an Australian an agricultural hub has been underscored by the dry winter.

Orange and the Central West region has endured one of its driest winters on record, with less than 100 millimetres of rain.

As a result, a report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics has forecast winter crop production will drop by 39 per cent, with canola down by 33 per cent and wheat due to decrease by 38 per cent. 

But the report also warns even this lower level will only be achieved if “spring rainfall is sufficient and timely, especially in Central West”.

Pricewaterhousecoopers agribusiness partner Greg Quinn said there will be lag before the impact on consumers is known, although the record crops from last year meant there would be more “carry over” in grain stocks.

The dry, warmer winter has already seen the bush fire danger period (BFDP) pushed forward by a month in six Central West local government areas.