The drought earlier this year has had many economists scratching their heads over the total cost to the country’s bottom line.
Given the widespread nature of the dry spell, the impact has been estimated by some to be around the one billion dollar mark – but some are now saying it could stretch to even twice that figure.
Federated Farmers board member and adverse events spokesperson, Katie Milne, says while there has been a significant recovery through a mild winter for most areas, in some cases the losses will be irreversible.
“The impact going forward does linger on, especially for sheep and beef farmers.
“For sheep farmers, the drought hit when the ewes were going to the ram, so the lamb crop is estimated to be lower by about three million – they are all animals that will need to be replaced.”
Katie Milne says some farmers may take as long as 5 years to properly recover from the impact, and it has increased calls for reliable water storage in drought prone areas.
“Basically if we had a lot more water storage in those places where we have the capacity and land type to do it, we could insulate the economy by up to 80 or 90 percent.
“It’s a massive bit of insulation to the eceonomy if we can get appropriate water storage, in appropriate places, and more irrigation.”
– Picture: Country TV
– Drew Chappell for Weatherwatch and Country TV