Farmers warn of fire risk as La Nina departs

The state’s run of devastating floods appears to be over, with forecasts of drier seasonal conditions ahead posing a heightened fire risk.

According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, good soil moisture and high water storage levels would support food and fibre production as rainfall eased.

NSW Farmers Western Division chair Gerard Glover – whose property was completely cut off by floodwater just three months ago – said it was welcome news not just for farmers but also communities in the bush.

“We’re all a bit sick of mopping up after 18 months of floods across the state, and there’s still a long way to go in terms of flood recovery, but clear skies will certainly help lift moods,” Mr Glover said.

“This news from ABARES that we’re going to see more normal conditions is welcome in terms of growing food and fibre.

“But at the same time high input prices remain a concern and global economic uncertainty is making fuel and fertiliser more expensive than it should be.”

The dry conditions weren’t all good news, Mr Glover said, with increased fire activity across the state.

“We’re seeing a lot of grass fires where weeds have grown and then dried out, and this next summer could be a shocker if we don’t get prepared early,” he said.

“This is why NSW Farmers has been so vocal in calling on public land managers to do their part in controlling weeds – they are a huge fire danger if you let them go.

“Hopefully we’ll see both sides of politics commit to a Natural Resource Regulator before the state election.”

Date: Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Media Contact: Steve Mudd  | 0429 011 690 | [email protected]