After some very cold conditions last week, and now expected for the rest of this week, I was lucky to be able to have a quick trip out of the home office on a frosty but sunny Monday morning to Gawler River to have a chat about lambing.
The promising start to the season and outstanding lambing percentages was echoed in the encounters I had organised on Kangaroo Island late last month, which was fortunately one silver lining in the grey cloud that shrouded the island after the devastating summer bushfires.
At Gawler River, I was greeted by a wonderful sight of lush green lucerne pastures and the bright white wools of lambs frolicking away on them (pictured). It's always good to hear sheep industry stalwarts like Bill Close even marvel in how good the season has been - the "best-ever" and the Newbold stud has been around since 1917.
The misfortunes of the drought last year, and many years prior for some, and producers making the painfully expensive choice to continue hand feeding is potentially now a gamble that will pay off - it has so far in increased lambing percentages anyway.
As a counterpoint, a reporter on the road last week heard from someone living in the pastoral areas that, even with some rain at the start of the year, conditions were still among the worst they had seen in their 50 years on that station.
It is something we here at the Stock Journal always try to bear in mind, that while it may have rained, the drought is still very much alive and well in this state.
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Late last month, we reported the demand for rural financial counsellors was still high, with Rural Business Support CEO Brett Smith saying they were "as busy as ever" with more than 600 drought-affected clients.
Federal government drought support has been extended until the end of 2020, with farming households able to apply for up to $3000 in drought relief, and a number of new local government areas have been made eligible for the funding, including the Barossa.
The St Vincent de Paul Society, who distribute the drought aid on behalf of the government, say it has already assisted more than 9000 households, yet they know there are still many potential recipients who haven't reached out.
Please take the time to see what funding you could be eligible for.
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