Costs of Christmas meats such as turkey will be skyrocketing in the run-up to the festive season, with drought-affected Aussie farmers facing massive premiums of almost 80% on grain.
Angus Dowling and his wife Sonya farm turkeys fed on the best, organic grain but the drought has taken its toll on farmers in Murringo, NSW, who have had to put the price of their turkeys up by 10% to help cover the cost of grain.
“We normally plant 70% of wheat ourselves, but last year we planted and didn’t get to harvest, and this year we didn’t even plant,” said Mr Dowling, who stockpiled grain in 2016 in case of a bad year.
“Wheat prices have more than doubled and the organic grain we feed our turkeys is even more expensive. If we hadn’t stored some grain we wouldn’t be in business anymore.
“I had three years worth of grain in 2016 but two unprecedented years of bad drought is hard, I probably have enough to get us until this time next year. But after that, I don’t know.”
Another turkey farmer, Colin Quast, based near drought-stricken Tamworth, said grain prices were as high as he had ever seen them, at about $590 a tonne, compared to $290 last year.
Mr Quast described his land as a “dust bowl”.
Some of the best October rains on record were seen last month, but much of it was isolated to the east coast, skipping much of the land that needed it the most.
Still experiencing the worst drought in living memory (2 years + 3 months) in NSW Australia. Here's last Thursday's sunset with storm clouds, all green and grey and looking promising, without delivering a single drop on the farm. pic.twitter.com/TmIz1fXwNS
— therese (@ThereseRalston) November 17, 2018
AUSSIE DROUGHTS AND SOLAR SHUTDOWNS
Earlier this year, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull conceded: “Now we are the land of droughts and flooding rains, we recognise that.”
NSW recorded its lowest rainfall in a five-month period since 1900. That takes us back to the Centennial Minimum, and the last time the sun experienced an extended period of reduced activity.
We’re now transitioning out of solar cycle 24 (the lowest cycle since 14, 1902-1913), and into cycle 25 which, according to even the most optimistic predictions, will see a further 30% reduction.
Research suggests extended periods of reduced solar activity amplify weather extremes, from one (drought) to the other (flooding).
Historical documentation warns us time and time again that any prolonged reduction in solar output correlates with a devastating impact on regional climates and the food production systems civilisation has in place — see wiki.iceagefarmer and NOAA report.
Australia is fast returning to the cooler, drier climate of the early 1800s — the Dalton Minimum — and its fragile infrastructure is struggling to keep up.
“It’s a very volatile and often capricious climate and Australian farmers are resilient,” Turnbull added. “They plan for drought, they are good managers but it can become really overwhelming.”
A NSW charity worker wept as she described the dire situation, “I worry every day I go to visit farming families that I’m going to get to someone and it’s going to be hours too late, it’s literally that bad,” she said.
Solar activity is falling off a cliff.
Grand Solar Minimum