PRIMARY producers are invited to be 'meteorology eyes and ears on-the-ground' providing information about seasonal conditions as part of a survey being undertaken across Queensland.
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) general manager Elton Miller said DAFF was seeking observations from rural communities about rainfall and seasonal conditions on local properties.
"Providing local information by using a simple, online form will be an invaluable addition to other research and monitoring data being collated for Local Drought Committees (LDCs) and DAFF to determine seasonal conditions statewide," Mr Miller said.
Producers wishing to provide input into the LDC reviews need to complete the web form available at daff.qld.gov.au by April 12.
"These contributions will help LDCs assess how the region is faring and whether producers may need the drought assistance that can be obtained under a drought declaration," Mr Miller said.
"LDCs bring together producers, industry groups and agencies such as DAFF and the Bureau of Meteorology to collate information and develop a full picture of Queensland's climatic conditions and its impacts.
"DAFF has received an increasing number of drought related enquiries in recent months and the information collated from individual properties will help LDCs to make recommendations where drought declarations may apply to larger areas," he said.
"Queensland has not had any drought declared areas for more than two years, however eleven properties have been declared as 'Individually Droughted Properties' in the last two months.
"LDCs meet every April at the end of the summer rainfall period to review conditions and submit recommendations to me on drought declarations and revocations.
"Each review considers a broad range of information on the way in which seasonal conditions have impacted on animal and plant production across districts.
"For example, it may consider information about the amount of rain received, the condition of crops, pastures and livestock and current weather conditions."
Mr Miller said in recent years Queensland had experienced huge swings in seasonal conditions and extreme weather events.
"While some areas have received a large amount of rain causing terrible flooding, during the past 12 months other areas, particularly in Western Queensland, have experienced a 'dry' wet season," he said.
"I encourage primary producers to use the simple online form to report information about their properties and circumstances associated with monthly rainfall, water availability, livestock and pasture conditions."
Producers in drought declared shires, or with an IDP declaration, have access to Queensland Government assistance including the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS), which provides freight subsidies of up to $20,000 for the transport of fodder and water in time of drought and restocking and returning from agistment in the recovery period.
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