DRY SPELL: Gogango grazier Larry Acton is hoping the El Nino event does not result in another year of drought for the farmers and graziers out west.
DRY SPELL: Gogango grazier Larry Acton is hoping the El Nino event does not result in another year of drought for the farmers and graziers out west. Contributed

Farmers’ fears of El Nino hitting Central QLD confirmed

IT WAS the weather warning Gogango grazier Larry Acton didn't want to hear.

On Tuesday the Bureau of Meteorology officially declared an El Niño event which means parts of eastern Australia are looking at more dry and hot conditions continuing through to next summer.

According to the bureau, this is the first time El Niño thresholds have been reached in the tropical Pacific since March 2010.

The bureau says an El Niño is caused when sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean become significantly warmer than the average temperature, causing a complex series of climatic changes.

Larry, who lives on his Riverton property just north of Gogango, said it looked like it was going to be another difficult year.

"We were looking at having another bad year this year but we got 45m of rainfall the weekend before Beef Week and that's going to get us through winter.

"We're having an average to just below average year; last year was a shocker though. We fed most of our cattle molasses supplements, cotton seed and hay for seven months to keep them alive because there wasn't enough natural resources for them to feed on from the ground.

"But there's people out there who are doing it 10 times worse than me and for those people who've been in drought for the past three years in a row, well El Niño means nothing to them because it can't get any worse than what it currently is."

According to a media statement released by the bureau, while El Niño increases the risk of a drought, it does not 100% guarantee it. Since 1900, there have been 26 El Niño events and 17 of those have resulted in widespread drought.

Larry said he was still hopeful the El Niño wouldn't result in a drought.

DRY SPELL: Gogango grazier Larry Acton is hoping the El Nino event does not result in another year of drought for the farmers and graziers out west.
DRY SPELL: Gogango grazier Larry Acton is hoping the El Nino event does not result in another year of drought for the farmers and graziers out west. Contributed

"Once they declare an El Niño it goes into next August which means that next summer, when we normally get our best rainfall, it could be drier than it has been," he said.

"The only way out of this diabolical climate condition for a lot of people would be a moratorium on all interest and principal repayments to the bank for a period of three to five years. We did it in the 1970s and that's how a lot of us got through that time so I think the government needs to bring that idea back to the table."



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