The big dry is putting regional communities in NSW through their paces and the Bureau of Meteorology warns it could take until autumn 2019 for recovery rains to make a dent. These towns are filled with rural lawyers, farmers and graziers whose clients and livestock are waiting for the dust to settle.
Cobar is home to 71-year-old lawyer and grazier Geoff Langford. The fourth-generation farmer, who runs a merino wool farm south of the mining town in NSW’s Central West, says the first nine months of this year have been the driest period he has ever known.
“I’ve only had 25 millimetres on my farm from 1 January to 30 September, which is the lowest on my records that go back many, many years,” Langford says.
Langford sold his wethers (de-sexed male sheep) some time ago and he is now down to about 700 head of breeding stock. For now, the sheep on his farm are in good condition. Recent winds have seen the leaves and twigs from trees shed, creating stock feed for his animals.
“There’s not as many mouths to eat on the farm now as there were, because I’ve got rid of sheep,” Langford says.
“My problem is going to be the diminishing water supply and there’s only one place that water comes from.”