When the country is gripped by drought, the only positive news that farmers and regional communities want to hear, is that it’s over.
Parts of the country have been in the grip of dry conditions for a few years and it’s thanks to a dry autumn and winter that the impact is now being felt in the state’s south-west.
And worse, the Bureau of Meteorology’s seasonal outlook suggests the clear skies increase the risk of frosts which are expected to continue through spring.
As we stare down the barrel of what’s predicted to be a drier than normal spring it turns out that there is a silver lining – higher end prices. For the last few months sheep and lamb have been breaking local and national prices at saleyards.
Even in Griffith, a national price of $318 was set, despite many farmers taking the opportunity to de-stock as they reckon with the prospect of a long drought.
Part of the reason, aside from a lack of water is the high price of grain to finish the lambs.
Significant rain in our area and further up the in the Murrumbidgee catchment would certainly be very helpful for everyone from high-security to general security waterholders.
While we wait for the rain to fall, a few extra dollars for what is eventually grown and delivered by farmers is also helpful relief.
Grape farmers around the Griffith area are already busy counting their megalitres, how much they have and how much they will need.
The problem for growers though is while the price for grapes may show signs of moving up, they will be forced to buy water to finish the crop.
At the price it is today, and the price it could end up being, it might mean the rise in those average prices ends up going down the drain.
The records for sheep and rising grape prices might be welcome but it’s the price of grain to finish the sheep and water to finish the grapes which are an issue.
While the rising prices for produce is the sort of thing farmers usually wax lyrical about, it may, thanks to the dry conditions just mean people keep their heads above water.