The Australian Capital Territory is in the midst of a major ecological overpopulation crisis, with one in four of its farms suffering from crop failures and one in three having lost their crops.
But while farmers across the country are struggling to get by, in WA, where there is a much higher incidence of crop failures, the situation is worse.
More than 60 per cent of WA farmers in the WA regional region, where many of the state’s crops are grown, are struggling with a “serious crop failure rate” of more than 70 per cent, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSAA).
That’s higher than in most other regions of the country.
In the WA region, about 2.2 million hectares (5.5 million acres) of farmland have lost crops, according the CSAA, with more than 100,000 hectares (300,000 acres) currently “in the worst condition” of any WA region.
The report also found that a total of 13,837 farmers were “in a state of serious crop failure” and nearly 4,000 of them were still operating their farms.
The CSAA’s chief executive, Andrew Williams, said the state had the worst drought conditions in Australia.
“This is the worst situation we’ve had in WA in a long time,” Mr Williams said.
“We’ve got a drought that has already seen a decline in the rain rate in some places, so there’s been a severe lack of rain in many parts of the region, including the Kimberley, which has been affected by the drought.”
There are a number of factors, including climate change and more extreme rainfall patterns, which is putting pressure on crop yields.
“Farmers in the state have also been hit hard by a severe drought in Western Australia, which resulted in a significant fall in the water table in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Mr Williams said farmers in Western and South Australia were facing the most extreme drought conditions they had experienced in at least a century.”
What is really important to know is that the average drought has been over in Western, South and East Australia, so that means you’ve got farmers in these areas struggling to feed their families,” he said.
Mr Davis said the WA situation was the worst in the country, with drought conditions hitting farm families in the Kimberler, North Coast, North West and East Coast regions hardest.”
The problem is that this has been a very severe drought for the past few years, so the farmers have been very stressed about the crop failure rates,” he told ABC Rural.”
I think it’s the worst we’ve seen in a while, and that’s really concerning for farmers and also for the farmers that rely on their crops.
“Farm owners in WA are particularly worried about the impacts on their local water supplies.”
It is a major concern for many farmers that their water table is declining in these waterlogged areas because of the drought,” Mr Davis said.
He said the drought would also have a negative impact on the water supplies of WA’s other states and territories, with the CSACA estimating that the drought has already caused a reduction in water use in the Central and Northern states.”
You are going to see the impacts from the drought, particularly for agriculture, and especially for people in the dry state of Western Australia,” Mr Bower said.
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