Demand for fodder for drought-stricken and fire-affected livestock across the country as sky rocketed, but the surging demand has come as no surprise to farming charity Rural Aid.
The charity organisation said the Weather Bureau's declaration of the three months, August to October, as the driest on record since records began in 1900, coincided with the rapid increase in calls from farmers for assistance - especially hay for livestock, emergency drinking water and mental health and wellbeing support.
Rural Aid chief executive officer John Warlters said farmers had registered requests totalling more than a $1 million for fodder, the majority of which had been received from families in NSW drought hot spots including the Northern Rivers, New England, Hunter Valley.
More than 50 per cent of NSW was now impacted by drought, an almost doubling of the area affected since September.
On the Queensland side of the border, the State's south was desperately dry and without widespread and substantial rain it would only be a matter of time before drought declarations followed.
Meanwhile, in the Northern Territory more than 13 million hectares of land have been burnt in recent large-scale wildfires, with Rural Aid dropping 3000 hay bales to struggling pastoralists.
Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association (NTCA) Chief Executive Will Evans said pastoralists in the NT were continuing to face fire threats, with some losses not reported yet due to farmers being busy fighting fires.
He estimated 100,00 litres of diesel alone had been used by pastoralists to tackle fire threats adjacent to their own land, calling on the Government to urgently review the way large fires in the NT were being dealt with.
Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said the outlook for farmers was grim.
"Right now, what we're seeing is below average rainfall, above average temperatures and so much of the countryside is tinder dry," he said.
Mr Warlters said Rural Aid had been monitoring the impending weather conditions closely, as the reality of the season started to emerge, with requests for Rural Aid's assistance increasing markedly over the past three months.
Mr Warlters said many farmers had no feed for their livestock and were extremely anxious about the months ahead.
"We're really concerned at Rural Aid that we are almost at a bit of a tipping point right now," he said.
"Collectively, it means we're all on edge, and we know that really puts so much more stress and worry on our farmers at this time.
"The number of calls to our counsellors has effectively doubled from this time last year."
Mr Warlters said Rural Aid is working hard to support farmers, but it can't do it alone.
"As we come into Christmas, it's a time that we can all contribute to an organisation like Rural Aid so that we can help farming families and get them through these challenging times," Mr Warlters said.
Donations can be made at https://buyabale2023.ruralaid.org.au or by calling 1300 327 624.
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