Australian drought, fires taking a toll on crops and livestock

Australia’s crops and livestock are being heavily impacted by wildfires and extended drought conditions.

USDA meteorologist Harlan Shannon says at the beginning of the week an estimated 10 million hectares of land had been burnt by wildfires, with nearly 8.5 million of those in New South Wales.

“The area burned is approximately the size of the state of Kentucky.”

He says crops like cotton and sorghum are suffering from the drought, but the biggest impact from the fires will be on the beef, dairy and sheep industries.

“The fires have killed livestock, burned pastures, destroyed buildings and fencing, and interrupted transportation throughout the impacted regions.”

Shannon says recent cooler temperatures and light rains have helped with wildfire containment, but heavy rains are needed to improve conditions.

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