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East Gippsland farmers suffering as “green drought” takes hold

Farmers in East Gippsland are suffering under drought conditions, despite the land appearing green.

As reported in The Australian today, drought has spread south to Victoria, with East Gippsland farmers forced to sell livestock.

Steve Harrison, Gippsland farmer and a Victorian Farmers Federation’s livestock councillor told Ross and John the area is heading for a record low amount of rain this year.

“Central Gippsland is quite wet but it’s just not getting to East Gippsland,” Steve said.

“It is (green) but it’s very hard to big a post hole I can tell you.

“Any strong wind days, the top spoil does blow, we’ve only had 170ml for the year.

“Most farmers’ production would be at least in half.

“And it’ll take a good 18 months-two years to get over once it does rain.”

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Steve said hay has become very hard to source and is expensive.

“Sale, Heyfield, Bairnsdale, Orbost they’re doing it extremely tough,” he said.

“Mainly sheep and cattle and dairy farmers are having a hard time as well.”

Ross asked if the “record low” pertains to an all time low.

“Yes,” Steve said.

“We’ve only got until the end of the month and if we get 20ml we’ll be average but at this stage we can’t see it coming.”