Green thumbs to overcome drought prices?

It has been an extremely dry winter for most of the nation and even hotter and drier weather lies ahead. This could mean more expensive fruit and vegetables.

For those with water, it’s time to replant the Spring garden flower beds with vegetable seedlings.

Farmers markets could also provide a cheaper option to the supermarket fruit and veg aisles.

The Federal Department of Agriculture forecasts drier conditions for southern and central Australia during spring , generated by a predicted positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which is the dominant driver of weather at this time of year.

But you don’t need a degree in meteorology to know that it’s been hard going for many Aussies.

During the week ending 28 August, little to no rainfall was recorded across most of Australia, with falls restricted to isolated areas of eastern and southern Australia.

Across winter cropping regions, rainfall totals of between 1 to 10 millimetres were recorded in parts of southern Queensland and much of Western Australia.

Little to no rainfall was recorded across cropping regions in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and remaining cropping regions in Queensland.

The Murray Darling water basin is at just 41 per cent, which is nearly 30 per cent less than this time last year. The Warragamba Dam in New South Wales is currently at about 50 per cent capacity, 17 per cent less than the corresponding period in 2018.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a 70 to 80% chance of below- average rainfall across most of eastern Australia.

As of June, 84% of Queensland was drought- declared. The fruit and vegetables bowls of the southern Darling Downs and the Lockyer Valley are in an extreme and prolonged drought, and large towns are on the verge of running out of drinking water. Even the water level of the massive Wivenhoe Dam, west of Brisbane, is at just 53 per cent.

If there is good news, it’s this: farmers with groundwater should be “ok” for another year.

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