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Dry and drier as heat hits early across the region

DRY: Shane Paulger tells Arthur Gorrie he has never seen it drier in the Mary Valley.
DRY: Shane Paulger tells Arthur Gorrie he has never seen it drier in the Mary Valley. Greg Miller

KENILWORTH dairy farmer Shane Paulger says he has never seen it worse.

And Veteran weather watcher Ted Uebergang says we are in a dry part of a dry year.

"And the heat seems to be coming early," he said yesterday. "It usually doesn't get into the high 30s until December.

"I don't think it's exceptionally bad now, but we didn't get much of a wet season. It was a bit of a dud really.

"I've got videos of water poured on the ground just disappearing because the soil is so dry," he said.

Mr Paulger, who irrigates from the upper Mary River, said he had intended to plant a crop of corn, but does not dare until there is some sign of rain.

"We're not going to put it in the ground until it rains.

"We're not prepared to take that risk. You always need some assistance from above," he said.

"We do a lot of irrigation, but we're short on water.

"It's the toughest I've seen it at this time of year.

"The grass is burnt off to chips under your feet where there's no irrigation.

"And the wind is just sapping the water out of it.

"Electricity prices are exorbitant for pumping.

"It's hard for dairy farmers. Milk prices are low and we really need a break in the weather.

"And we need more than storms.

"Storms only affect the area under them but they come through in narrow bands and the benefits are not always widespread.

"It's often an issue at this time of year, and it's too early to hope for a low off a cyclone up north.

"It's affecting our production badly and we've already seen that in Victoria they are about 12% down in their production," he said.

Topics:  drought dry weather

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