Huddersfields farmers are worried they will be hit hard by the long dry spell and that the federal government may have to start making some changes to its agricultural policies to cope.
The state’s crop production is down to a fraction of what it was a decade ago, and the average farm is suffering a double whammy of heavy rainfall and the effects of climate change, which has reduced soil moisture and damaged crops, especially for vegetables.
In the past two years, the state’s average yield has fallen from 2.7m tonnes to 2.1m tonnes, and it is also experiencing a double-whammy of drought and climate change.
A farm in Huddarsfield is seen in 2017.
The state’s agriculture production has fallen in the past decade and the majority of the farms are struggling to cope with the conditions.
(Reuters)The state has been hit hard over the past three years by the global warming, with the state seeing its yields drop by 15 per cent, to 1.9m tonnes.
“We’re getting hit really hard by this, and we’re really struggling,” farmer Paul Kayser told the ABC.
“I think the drought is going to be an even bigger issue for the farmers in the next year and half.”
Kayser said the state had seen its farm productivity drop by more than a quarter in the last year and a half.
“The impact on the farmers is huge.
We’re losing about a third of our yield every year,” he said.”
So if you want to be successful in the farming sector you’ve got to have your farm, you’ve gotta have your yields up.”
The federal government has been criticised for not taking more action to address climate change and has pledged to set aside $1 billion to help Australia’s farmers.
But Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said he had been advised by the Climate Change Authority that the government would need to take more action on the issue, because it was so complex.
“They’ve said it’s a complex problem, and so we have to have a look at what we can do to address it,” Mr Joyce said.
Mr Joyce said the federal Government was considering “strategic options” to help farm communities deal with climate change issues, but the federal response was not yet clear.
“What the Government is looking at is what the states are doing, what the farmers are doing,” he told ABC radio.
“And then what the regional governments are doing as well.”
Farmers in the region said the current drought was the worst they had experienced in 20 years, with some farmers unable to feed their families.
“You don’t really know what’s going to happen next year, you don’t know what you’re going to have to do,” said farmer Chris Taylor.
“There’s no way we’re going out and trying to get our families to the farm in a month, or even three months time.”
Farm groups say that the drought could have dire consequences for local economies.
“It’s the biggest crop failure in the history of the state of Queensland,” said Farmers Australia spokesman Mark Burt.
“That’s quite a big blow to a lot of people in the community.”
The ABC has set up an interactive online tool that can help farmers understand how their agricultural products could be affected by the drought.
The ABC’s agriculture editor, Nick Smith, will be travelling around Queensland this week.