Survey reveals gravity of drought for Qld farmers

One in seven farmers surveyed in Queensland has less than 10% of their potential surface water supply.
One in seven farmers surveyed in Queensland has less than 10% of their potential surface water supply. Max Fleet

ALMOST two thirds of Queensland's farmers have told their industry group the drought gripping the state is the worst in living memory.

The survey of AgForce members across 31 drought-declared councils highlighted the ongoing pressure the drought was placing on agriculture and rural communities.

About 50% of survey respondents lost up to half their gross annual income and 17% reported an income reduction greater than three-quarters.

About 85% reported running less than three-quarters of their long-term stock carrying capacity with one in five carrying less than a quarter.

One in seven has less than 10% of their potential surface water supply.

AgForce president Grant Maudsley said the April survey showed most producers had slashed their herd numbers and cut back on the state's grain planting in response to the dry.

"The current drought means most Queensland farmers in these shires won't make a profit in the current decade and it is now threatening the viability of rural communities as well," Mr Maudsley said.

Two thirds of farmers in drought-affected areas had not applied for the Federal Government's Farm Household Allowance or concessional loans and 44% did not believe they met the eligibility criteria.

Of those who commented on the household allowance application process, more than four in five believed the process was onerous, complicated or repetitive.

About one in five encountered problems due to poor internet connectivity or delays in receiving payment.

Mr Maudsley said AgForce members believed further support was needed for kangaroo control, business grants and farm labour wage assistance and towards school education expenses.

Members also believed assistance should be extended to non-farm businesses in the community.

Mr Maudsley said primary producers did not expect handouts from government but a review of existing measures was now critical.

Topics:  agforce drought editors picks farming survey

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