Hot, dry weather hits hard for Wollondilly farmers

The ongoing dry, hot weather has taken its toll on Werombi farmers Brett and Melinda Hayter. Picture: Sharon Robertson
The ongoing dry, hot weather has taken its toll on Werombi farmers Brett and Melinda Hayter. Picture: Sharon Robertson

Macarthur experienced an early blast of summer heat over the past week – but not everyone is lapping up the sunshine.

While some residents may enjoy the warm weather, the dry, hot conditions have caused yet another setback for our farmers.

The start of November has consistently seen the mercury rise about 30 degrees, complemented by dry winds.

The conditions are stark contrast to last month, when more than 100 millimetres of rain hit the region.

Werombi dairy farmer Melinda Hayter said the heat was proving a challenge for Wollondilly farmers.

“The grass had started to grow with the rain, but the hot weather dries it out and takes the natural nutrition out of the grass,” she said.

Mrs Hayter and her husband Brett run a 400-acre farm and have about 350 cattle.

She said it had been a difficult year for the couple’s farm.

“Brett’s family has had this farm for 150 years and it’s some of the worst conditions we’ve ever seen,” Mrs Hayter said.

“There is a lack of water and the dams are dry.

“We’ve had to cut back on the amount of milking we do because we’ve had to cut back on feeds [for cattle].”

The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted rainfall this Wednesday, November 7.

However, Mrs Hayter said she was concerned about her farm leading into the summer months.

“You do worry about it and we haven’t got our reserves ready for next year,” she said.

“We have planted some seeds in preparation so we hope to make feeds from that.

“It’s a struggle, but you don’t want to stop what you love doing.”

Mrs Hayter said her family had received great support from relief efforts like the Dilly Drought Drive and Buy A Bale.

“Without the Dilly Drought Drive in particular, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” she said.

Bureau of Meteorologist meteorologist Anita Pyne said hot conditions over the past week were caused by winds moving north across the state.

“These winds are dragging hot air into NSW that has built over the Australian continent,” she said.

"This is earlier than usual heat this year, but it's a pretty typical spring pattern."