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Tale of two different seasons in NSW

Michael Condon, Friday May 16, 2014 - 13:54 EST
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Drought conditions persist across north and north west NSW - ABC

The season is shaping up in two very different ways in New South Wales this year.

Following good rainfall in April, pasture growth and conditions for winter grain crops have been boosted over much of NSW.

But parts of the drought-affected north and west of the state have missed out and need more rain.

Around 25 to 30 per cent of the state is still in the grip of a drought and many farmers in the northern cropping regions have not had enough rain to plant a winter crop.

But for some in the southern areas, and the central west of NSW, the start to the season has been hailed as one of the best ever.

The NSW Seasonal Conditions Report for April, prepared by the Department of Primary Industries, found most of southern, central and western NSW received good rainfall.

"Combined with mild-warm temperatures, the rainfall continued to boost pasture and forage crop growth and to improve conditions for winter grain crops," DPI Seasonal Conditions Coordinator Ian McGowen said.

"Sowing of mid-season winter crops is underway over central and southern areas, which now have good soil moisture.

"Improved pastures and early-sown dual purpose crops in these areas have responded well to the conditions.

Mr McGowen said more rain is still needed over much of the northern cropping area.

"Areas of the north west and west of the state received patchy falls in April," he said.

"Many of these areas were coming off a hot and dry February with seriously diminished soil moisture levels.

"Pasture growth in April slowed over the Tablelands and was low over areas of the coast, far west and north west, with some of these areas going into winter with insufficient carry-over feed for livestock."

Mr McGowen said over the three month period to the end of April, rainfall had been average or better over 92 per cent of NSW.

"Most of NSW received average to above average rainfall during April in the range from 25 to 100 mm.

"It was lower across the north but above average in the west and south.

"Daytime temperatures were above average in the north and average elsewhere with overnight temperatures above average across the state."

Mr McGowen said the rainfall affected harvesting and quality of some summer crops and led to a minor improvement in water storage levels which are low-moderate, with the average capacity being 51 per cent.

"Stock water supplies remain variable over the Tablelands and north west, and some areas of western NSW," he said.


© ABC 2014

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