Quick-dry-out a factor in sneaky Upper Hunter drought

Upper Hunter drought ‘sneaking up on us’: Farmer ‘Very dry very quickly’: Neville Watts, of Willow Tree in the Upper Hunter, at Scone Sale Yard last week. Picture: Simon McCarthy
老域名出售

Ian McCallum is a fifth generation farmer from Moonan Flat in the Upper Hunter Valley. Picture: Simon McCarthy

Ron Campbell at his Merriwa property. Picture: Simon McCarthy

Merriwa, Upper Hunter Valley. Picture: Simon McCarthy

Belltrees, Upper Hunter Valley. Picture: Simon McCarthy

Scone Sale Yards. Picture: Simon McCarthy

Upper Hunter. Picture: Simon McCarthy

Scone Sale Yard. Picture: Simon McCarthy

Scone Sale Yard. Picture: Simon McCarthy

Blandford, Upper Hunter Valley. Picture: Simon McCarthy

Scone Sale Yard. Picture: Simon McCarthy

Scone Sale Yard. Picture: Simon McCarthy

Scone Sale Yard. Picture: Simon McCarthy

Ron Campbell drives around his Merriwa property. Picture: Simon McCarthy

Scone Sale Yard. Picture: Simon McCarthy

Scone Sale Yards on February 6. Picture: Simone McCarthy

Scone Sale Yards on February 6. Picture: Simone McCarthy

Scone Sale Yards on February 6. Picture: Nick Bielby

Scone Sale Yards on February 6. Picture: Nick Bielby

Craig Murphy feeds hay to his stock at his Blandford property. Picture: Nick Bielby

Scone Sale Yards on February 6. Picture: Nick Bielby

Scone Sale Yards on February 6. Picture: Nick Bielby

Scone Sale Yards on February 6. Picture: Nick Bielby

Scone Sale Yards on February 6. Picture: Nick Bielby

Ian MacCallum with the food required for his stock when there’s little to graze in the paddocks. Picture: Nick Bielby

TweetFacebook The big dryFarmers across the Hunter have battled through months of drought. Pictures: Simon McCarthy and Nick BielbyNeville Watts sees an historic parallel withthedrought that’s been tightening its grip on the Upper Hunter.

Mr Watts has been working his 730acre Willow Tree property for 14 years after leaving his Muswellbrook farm,which he saidbecame a dustbowl as a result of mining.

Read more:Drought’s decaying effect not just on the land

Now, he said, dryconditions in the Hunter were“getting to the desperate stage for some people”.

A compounding factor that many farmers say is making this drought different to most is the severely hot weather.

Read more:Quadruple bypass after drought stress

“It’s got very dry very quickly,”Mr Wattstold Fairfax Media in Scone.

“In 1955, the flood ran over the Hunter Valley and in 1956 cattle were dying at Glenrock Station, that’s how quickly it dried out.

“This drought we have now is sneaking up on us.”

‘Upper Hunter drought ‘sneaking up on us’: Farmer’is part of anongoing series of reportsby theNewcastle Herald,Maitland Mercury,Singleton ArgusandHunter ValleyNews investigating the effects of drought of local farmers in the Upper and Lower Hunter.