NSW flies under the rain radar

Grain Central, July 12, 2018

THE latest NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) State Seasonal Update for June indicates some welcome rain was received in southern NSW, but the majority of the state continues to endure dry conditions.

DPI’s leader of climate applications, Dr Anthony Clark, said the drought event intensified across the north of the State during June, while the eastern and southern Murray and Riverina regions did receive some rainfall that provided late sowing opportunities as well as some pasture growth.

“The vast majority of the state’s agricultural production zones continue to be affected by very poor seasonal conditions,” Dr Clark said.

“Good falls of rain were recorded in the south, alpine areas, parts of the coastal regions of the Hunter and eastern parts of the Western region, however as the rain was not widespread the seasonal conditions further deteriorated, particularly in the Northern Tablelands, North Coast and North West regions.

“While the rainfall was welcome, it was not enough to lift regions out of drought conditions and DPI will continue to closely monitoring the situation.”

The Soil Water Index shows that stored soil moisture is below average to extremely low across NSW, with the same conditions reflected in the Plant Growth Index.

The Bureau of Meteorology Outlook for July to September indicates that there is an increased chance of drier than normal conditions across the majority of NSW, except in the far south east which has a near-equal chance of a wetter or drier than average three months.

New look reporting format

Due to feedback from the State Drought Coordinator, NSW DPI has revised the way drought and seasonal conditions information is presented, to better describe conditions being felt on the ground.

“Many farmers, particularly those in the western and north west of the state, have told me they did not feel the descriptions used and presentation of the maps in our State Seasonal Updates and the DPI website, were a true reflection of what they were seeing out their kitchen windows,” Ms Job said.

“As a result DPI has changed the wording to describe three of the categories to: “drought affected”, “drought” and “intense drought”, with recovering and non-drought remaining.

“The Combined Drought Indicator is designed to track progression of an area’s rainfall, soil moisture and pasture growth into or out of drought conditions, so farmers, industry and government can spot trends earlier and make decisions accordingly.

“After talking to farmers it was determined that some of the terms just weren’t a proper fit for areas which have been drought affected for a long time. This system is ultimately about better reflecting conditions on the ground, so we’re happy to work with farmers and adjust it in response to their feedback.”

DPI continually reviews the drought indicators that underpin the mapping, and these have tracked the current drought event accurately for many regions in NSW. It was the final classification that simplifies the information for mapping that was not resonating well with many producers.

Source: NSW DPI

The latest State Seasonal Update and information on a range of services and support available to primary producers is available on

Primary producers are reminded that you don’t need to be in a particular drought category to access assistance and support measures.



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