Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Driest Feb Takes Its Toll on Our Farmers; Future Looks Frightening for Those Living off the Land

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Driest Feb Takes Its Toll on Our Farmers; Future Looks Frightening for Those Living off the Land

Article excerpt

Byline: Eliza Wheeler frasercoastchronicle.com.au

PARTS of the Fraser Coast have suffered through the driest February on record, but the pain has only just begun for those who live off the land.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the Hervey Bay region received a measly 2.2mm of rain in February, while the Maryborough region only received 5.6mm, at the time of publication.

With Hervey Bay's average rainfall for the month sitting at 142.2mm, and Maryborough's being 172.9mm, both recordings are some of the lowest in the region's history, with Maryborough's monthly rainfall the lowest ever recorded.

According to BOM data, the only time Hervey Bay February's rainfall was lower than this year, was in 1904 when 0.0mm was recorded.

Before this year, the driest February for Maryborough was in 1877, when just 7.4mm was recorded.

It is one thing to hear those statistics, but it is another to live through the harsh reality of the unforgiving dry weather.

For Fraser Coast farmers this means watching your canefields die or spending thousands on irrigation to keep them alive, selling cattle early or bringing in truckloads of molasses. Some farmers have put their pride aside to ask the community to help pay for a new bore because their dams are just weeks away from drying up completely.

The Chronicle spoke to some farmers about how the driest February on record took its toll on them.

Lindsay Titmarsh, cattle producer, Tandora:

Mr Titmarsh runs about 1600 head of cattle on his property near Dundathu, and said his cows were still in good condition only because he pays $11,000 every few weeks for a truckload of molasses.

"Our cattle are looking good still, but I don't know how much longer for. We're feeding them molasses supplement which costs about $11,000 a B-double load, I'm on my second one already, that lasts about 3 or 4 weeks," Mr Titmarsh said. …

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