Challenges persist despite rain

05 April 2024

Widespread rain across much of Tasmania over the last week, definitely lifted the spirits of the state’s primary producers. Some regions received more rainfall than others and we remain concerned with the situation on King Island which only received 6mm.

While this rainfall brings the of hope of an ongoing spring break, the wider community is reminded that while this rainfall has helped fill water tanks slightly and encourage green growth, it's unlikely to single-handedly reverse the effects of our prolonged drought.

For farmers to recover from some of the driest conditions in living memory, what is needed is consistent rainfall, over the remaining autumn period.

To support farmers, we've taken proactive steps to secure funding from the Tasmanian Government and the TAS Farm Innovation Hub. This funding will allow us to appoint a community drought support coordinator for King Island.

To coordinate our response statewide, Jacqueline Shipton from TasFarmers has been appointed as the full-time contact point for all drought-related matters. Any farmer from King Island, Flinders Island and mainland Tasmania can contact Jacqueline if they need assistance.

Jac brings extensive knowledge and experience to her role, which will aid landholders as we continue to address drought challenges and seek to fill the full-time role on King Island.

We know that many producers have been feeding livestock early and that demand for feed and fodder is high. To support this, we are working to enhance and relaunch our Tasmanian Fodder Hub. The revamped website will feature a central register to assist farmers in accessing fodder, with a seamless connection between participants ensuring secure transactions on the platform.

Over the coming months, we will be seeking donations of fodder and transportation to affected farmers. For those fortunate enough to live in parts of the state that are not as adversely affected, your assistance is sought for souring hay, silage, and feed pellets for both cattle and sheep.

The Bureau of Meteorology is still predicting warmer-than-average temperatures for Autumn so conditions may remain unchanged, and we will all need to pull together as the rural community always does in these difficult times.

From a social, economic, or environmental perspective, one downpour won't offset months of little to no rain. Drought-impacted areas like those in the southern midlands need sustained, above-average rainfall to help rejuvenate soil moisture and create favourable conditions for pasture and crop growth across the state.

Across much of Tasmania, our soil and catchments will be primed to produce runoff, improve water flow and storage, but for the hardest hit in the south and on the islands more and sustained rainfall is needed.