The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) is urging farmers and decision makers to prepare for drier conditions as the first seasonal outlook by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) points to reduced farm outputs later this season.
VFF President Emma Germano said despite many farmers being well-placed following years of favourable growing conditions, now is the time prepare for the impact of potential drier months ahead.
“By and large, we’ve had incredibly good farming conditions for the past few years here in Victoria, that has resulted in record harvests and outputs.”
“That can’t last forever and many farmers are already preparing for drier times ahead. It’s a difficult balancing act, with farmers juggling skyrocketing input prices and volatile market conditions”, Ms Germano said.
Ms Germano added that long-term thinking was needed by decision makers to ensure the industry is equipped to navigate the inevitable change in forecast weather conditions.
“We’ve just gone through horrific floods that exposed some gaping holes in the support government provides to farmers and regional communities. Decision makers need to use past experiences to plan for the future.”
“For drier times, that means prioritising drought preparedness, sustainability, resilience and risk management for farming businesses and communities well ahead of when drought strikes.”
“With drier conditions comes the inevitable risk of bushfires and their devastating impact on communities. Resilient infrastructure that can withstand the extremes of our environment needs to be considered. We can’t afford to be continually counting the cost of crippled roads, fences and telecommunication networks that we know fail during times of disaster.”
“Farming is cyclical and the best preparation for the tough times is done when the going is good. That time is now and there’s no time to waste,” Ms Germano said.