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Australia: Tasmania’s driest October on record leads to govt assistance

The Tasmanian Government announced today additional initiatives to support farmers, as concerns deepen across the agricultural sector that Tasmania is likely to receive below average rainfall over the summer period.

The Bureau of Meteorology has identified very low rainfall, especially in the north and inland, making it Tasmania’s driest October on record.

It also identified very warm days, especially in the first half of the month, the warmest October on record for many sites and overnight temperatures also above average.

“How many times can you explain how dry and how warm it’s been? It just kept coming at me,” climatologist from the Bureau of Meteorology, Ian Barnes-Keoghan said.

“A number of places have had their driest October by quite a long stretch.

“Rainfall is just so low. It’s been ineffective, especially in the Midlands, which recorded less than 10 millimetres [and] areas around Launceston, less than a millimetre.

“But on top of that we’ve had these persistent high temperatures … so what rain did fall evaporated very, very quickly.

“The actual amount of rain going into the soil has been exceptionally low, particularly across the north, down the east and into the Midlands.”

Phil Pyke from the Business Development the Fruit Growers Association of Tasmania, said he was particularly concerned for irrigators.

“The rainfall deficiencies are very concerning, particularly for those who rely very heavily on catchment for their irrigation,” he said.

“When you look at much of the weather influences that affect north-west Tasmania and Victoria, there are deficiencies in Victoria going back 70 years.

“We see that reflected in north and north-east Tasmania.

“Growers up there are going to be in a critical phase with their water resources by the end of December, early-January.”

The initiatives announced by the State Government today included:

  • $2.2 million to extend the subsidy for new irrigation electricity connections;
  • $44,000 for Feed and Fodder Register
  • $30,000 to extend Rural Alive and Well outreach services on King Island

These initiatives are on top of the State Government’s $10 million AgriGrowth Concessional Loans Scheme, available to assist farm and agri-food businesses with irrigation infrastructure, productivity improvements and other long-term developments.

– Weatherzone/ABC


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