Australia's most populous state is now entirely in drought


"There isn't a person in the state that isn't hoping to see some rain for our farmers and regional communities", he said. They were given permission to shoot kangaroos that may compete with their cattle for food during the intensely dry season.

Around 60% of neighbouring Queensland is also in drought, as well as parts of Victoria and South Australia.

Milne said Federated Farmers was exploring ways of supporting affected Australian farmers as many on this side of the Tasman felt helpless.

Farmers are having to decide whether to continue the expensive and laborious task of hand-feeding cattle and sheep or sell their livestock.

A smattering of rain earlier this week did little to ease one of the driest starts to the year on record, turning pastures to dust and destroying huge areas of grazing and crop lands.

"Many farmers are taking livestock off their paddocks, only to then see kangaroos move in and take whatever is left - this is the last thing any farmer needs at the moment", Blair said.

Prime farming land around Coonabrabran, Broken Hill and between Orange and Dubbo have recorded the driest 18-month period since records began in 1900.

More news: 'Lock your doors': At least four dead in Canada shooting
More news: Jurgen Klopp defends Liverpool transfer policy after spending £177m
More news: Oscars move to honor 'popular' movies sparks swift backlash

The sight of wide expanses of dry earth greets farmers every day around the state. "They didn't act fast enough", Col Barton, whose family has been on their farm east of Gunnedah since 1938, told AFP.

There has also been a growing national conversation about the mental health toll that the drought has had on farmers.

Turnbull addressed those concerns on Monday, announcing relief measures for farmers including extra money for mental health support services. In India, four indicators are usually applied to declare a drought.

He says over that time the climate has certainly changed with winter and spring rainfall becoming less reliable.

At the end of July, the state government increased its drought assistance to more than $1 billion dollars.

Countries worldwide are dealing with their own climate catastrophes.

Global average temperatures are around 1°C higher than in the pre-industrial age, and rising at 0.17°C per decade, scientists say.