Many people have been sweltering in the heatwave in the UK but spare a thought for our cousins down under, where a drought is currently in full swing. This is having a devastating effect on the farming industry – as this astounding footage of a farmer trying to get water to his thirsty cows shows:
While you might rightly point out that UK summer takes place during the Australian winter, it really doesn’t feel like that at the moment.
The video was taken from a drone above Burrabogie Livestock and Contracting’s flock of cattle and shows a water truck trying to get much needed liquids into their cows.
Farmers in rural New South Wales and Queensland are facing financial ruin as the drought spreads, with inland areas having gone for weeks without rain.
“Farmers are getting out left, right and centre. It’s gotten to the point where it’s cheaper to shoot your cows than it is to feed them,” Jason Maloney, a dairy farmer, told the BBC
“No-one likes doing that. You’ve bred them from birth – they’ve been part of your life. But it gets to a point of no return.”
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology announced that the summer in Australia was the second warmest ever, while the autumn was then the among driest and warmest ever recorded.
The state of South Australia was the driest it has been since Australia’s independence 117 years ago, while New South Wales also reported 2017 as their hottest year ever.
As of Wednesday, the entire state of New South Wales is officially in drought. Farmers have been forced to hand-feed their cattle with hay as all grazing land has turned to dust, with no grass for the animals to eat. They are now allowed to shoot kangaroos that graze on land that would otherwise be used for cows.
“Many farmers are taking livestock off their paddocks, only to then see kangaroos move in and take whatever is left, said Niall Blair, Primary Industries Minister in the Australian government.
“If we don’t manage this situation, we will start to see tens of thousands of kangaroos starving and suffering, ultimately leading to a major animal welfare crisis.”
Almost 80,000 people are employed in agriculture in the state, with the industry bringing a value of AUD $15 billion (£8.5bn / US $10.9bn) to the local economy. The Australian Government have stepped in to offer a subsidy to struggling farmers to tide them over until the drought breaks.