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Dry conditions force lamb producers to cull stock

Thursday May 9, 2013 - 09:35 EST

Lamb producers in the far west are being forced to cull stocks because of arid conditions.

Tandou Pastoral, one of Australia's largest producers of organic lamb, is culling 300 dorper ewes.

It follows just 51mm of rain over the last 15 months, creating dry feed.

Tandou's Paul Martin says if it does not rain soon, they will have to cull more animals at Menindee and sell at weaker prices.

"It's always a hard decision to pull the trigger and say sell when you've worked so hard to get them to a certain standard," Mr Martin said.

"But as they often say, it's better to have some money in the bank than bones in the paddock."

Seasonal outlooks are providing little help for farmers trying to make decisions about selling stock.

The latest outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology is unable to predict whether the western region will have above or below average rainfall.

In the central west, there's a higher chance of wetter conditions, but in the far west there is no indicator either way.

Climatologist Acacia Pepper says rain is more likely in the north of the state.

"For May to July, most of north-east New South Wales is still favouring wetter than normal conditions," Ms Pepper said.

"So odds of about six or seven out 10 years like this would have wetter than normal conditions in north-east New South Wales.

"But in southern and into western New South Wales, the odds are a bit closer to 50-50."


© ABC 2013

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