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Water in Focus

Farm water supplies, falling water tables, and problems with pumps are expected to be key issues at the Weekend Farmers Information Session in Orange on Saturday 24 February.

Given the current dry conditions, a session on farm irrigation, stock water needs and drought proofing your water supply in a challenging season will be particularly topical.

"There have been a lot of problems this year with inadequate pump lift due to the lowered water table in many areas,” said Keith Sproule, Director of Mid West Irrigation, who will present the farm stock water and irrigation options session.

“The importance of designing your water system to cover all seasonal conditions cannot be overstated,” said Mr Sproule.

“Given that most small holdings are using their water systems for multiple purposes, including domestic supplies, livestock, orchards and the all important fire safety supply, your watering system is one of the most important functions of a small farming operation.”

With just 361 millimetres of rain recorded, the last 8 month period at the Orange Agricultural Institute has been extremely dry. Since 1900 there are only eight years that have recorded less rainfall: 1982, 2002, 1904, 1944, 1914, 1901, 1908, and 1905, respectively (figures in order of lowest total of just 226mm in 1982).

According to Phil Cranney from Central Tablelands Local Land Services, there have been anecdotal reports of water tables dropping below historical low levels in many areas surrounding Orange, Blayney and Bathurst.

“While a period of 8 months of consistently below average rainfall is not uncommon in many areas west of Orange, this current dry period is biting hard on many communities throughout the Tableland's high rainfall environment,” said Phil.

"There is only one thing more heart breaking than having no feed for your livestock and that is having feed but no water,” added Mr Cranney.  “Water quality issues can be a real limitation to livestock performance and pasture utilisation in these dry times.”

The Weekend Farmer Information Session will provide producers with valuable information about setting up their water systems to cope with dry periods.

Senior Local Land Services Livestock officer, Brett Littler, will also present information on key water quality factors that can inhibit livestock performance.

The Local Land Services Weekend Farmer Information Session will run from 9am till 1pm at the Orange Agriculture Institute at 1447 Forest Road, Orange, and will feature a diverse range of farming related topics including pasture management, fencing demonstrations, livestock health, horticulture and biosecurity.