THIS is my first Stock Talk article, so let us start with the positives, as we all know the negatives and hear them constantly.
Even with recent corrections, our lamb markets are in a very strong position with rates between 800 to 900 cents a kilogram.
The sheep market is also very strong with rates between 550c/kg to 600c/kg.
The cattle markets are strong for store, feeder and prime cattle.
We have areas that are not affected by dry conditions which have given strong support to our markets.
At this week's Forbes prime cattle sale on Monday yearlings made up most of the yarding, although there was a good offering of cows too.
Yearling steers to processors held firm to sell from 270c/kg to 343c/kg.
The next positives we can take out of our current dry time is that we have all taken the opportunity to come together and share ideas on feeding, weaning, joining and many other animal management tasks.
We have proven that as rural communities we take care of our own and if you ask for help, if somebody doesn't know the answer, they are more than willing to listen and help.
Many of these answers have come from Local Land Services vets or the NSW Department of Primary Industries staff.
Whether it be advice on looking after lambing ewes in drought feedlots, lot feeding lambs or supplementary feed rations.
We have seen NSW DPI update its Drought Feed Calculator App recently, which is a great tool to help you work out not only feed rations, but help work towards the management decisions of how long paddock and feed will last.
Our rural communities have come together, this includes small businesses that are definitely feeling the stresses of the times.
Many of these small businesses are not seen to be part of the rural community, but as we know, all businesses operating in a rural town are connected to what happens on our farms.
These businesses have had to do as our farmers have and look to different ways to survive in tough times, by offering new or different services.
Many businesses have extended credit limits and time. The idea being to help get us all through to the other end.
There have been many and varied drought forums and meetings with state and federal bodies.
I have been lucky enough to attend several with the same issues being raised on many occasions.
The main thing that I have taken out of these meetings is that our rural communities don't want handouts, they want support.
In many cases the support was too late coming this time but, let's make a positive out of this situation and have a drought plan/policy in place with trigger points that allow our rural communities to feel confident to make management decisions on their properties or their rural businesses.
We are all well aware that drought is a part of our industry and communities, so let's have a policy to give confidence.
We don't need to have the same meetings discussing the same request and requirements the next time this occurs.
We are a resilient bunch out here and should be proud of how far we have come through this and how we have done it as a rural community.
There are many positive things that can be taken out of this dry time.
- Geoff Rice is a director of Langlands Hanlon, Parkes, and a member of Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association.