SEQ councils drought declared

Only Brisbane not drought declared in south east Queensland

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Eight south east Queensland local government areas were added to Queensland's drought declared list at the beginning of December.

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The only local government area not drought declared in south east Queensland at the beginning of December is the Brisbane City Council.

The only local government area not drought declared in south east Queensland at the beginning of December is the Brisbane City Council.

Eight south east Queensland local government areas were added to Queensland's drought declared list at the beginning of December.

They are the Fraser Coast, Gympie, Noosa, Sunshine Coast and Moreton Regional Councils, and the Gold Coast, Logan and Redland City Councils.

Only the Brisbane City Council area is not declared as being in drought in the south east of the state.

The additions, announced by Agriculture Minister Mark Furner on Tuesday, increase the amount of the state in drought from 66.1 per cent to 67.4pc.

There are now 41 councils and four part-council areas drought declared, and 16 individually droughted properties in a further five local government areas.

Related: Two thirds of Queensland still in drought

Mr Furner said he had accepted the recommendations of the local drought committees based on the significant lack of rain, depleted pasture reserves and escalating concerns about agricultural water supply.

"Local drought committees usually meet at the end of the wet season in April, but due to the deteriorating conditions since then, these committees decided to recommend the areas be drought declared from December 1," Mr Furner said.

"In these regions, local drought committee members have observed extreme rainfall deficiencies, above average temperatures, poor pasture growth, low soil moisture profiles, failed winter grain, forage and horticultural crops, little to no planting of summer forage and grain crops, and significant concerns about stock, irrigation and rural water supplies."

A graphic representation of Queensland's pasture growth percentile for the last 12 months, from the Long Paddock website.

A graphic representation of Queensland's pasture growth percentile for the last 12 months, from the Long Paddock website.

Additional drought assessment officers have now been placed in Toowoomba, Kingaroy and Rockhampton, raising the the number of drought assessment officers and climate risk coordinators in Toowoomba to five, four in Kingaroy and three in Rockhampton, aimed at ensuring the timely delivery of support.

There is also an additional climate risk coordinator in Charters Towers and in Longreach.

Mr Furner said any producer experiencing difficult conditions in a council area not drought declared, could apply for an IDP declaration.

"This gives you the same access to Queensland drought assistance as an area declaration," he said.

The expansion and contraction of the drought over the last 36 months, and its effect on pasture growth can be viewed on the Long Paddock website.

For further information on drought assistance visit daf.qld.gov.au or call the Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23.

ABARES: Serious challenges ahead

An ABARES agricultural commodities report released on Tuesday shows that the effects of the continuing drought are becoming more pronounced with falling production and high input costs presenting serious challenges in many regions, especially in New South Wales and Queensland.

ABARES' chief commodity analyst Peter Gooday said the total volume of agricultural production was forecast to fall for a third consecutive year, which hadn't happened for more than 60 years.

"The value of agricultural production is forecast to fall by 3 per cent this year, but still remain high at almost $61 billion, supported by strong demand for livestock products resulting from the African swine fever outbreaks across Asia," Mr Gooday said.

"We're expecting to see higher prices year-on-year for cattle, sheep, lambs, pigs and goats which will partly offset the decline in production.

"Winter crop production has been revised down after a challenging spring in many regions and the poor conditions will see continued turnoff of livestock.

"Fodder availability is likely to be higher in 2019-20 than last season and prices are expected to fall, but they are likely to remain well above average-a poor summer crop could add pressure to prices later in the year."

The story SEQ councils drought declared first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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