Farmers having best spell in years
AND now the good news.
Farmers across most of Australia should be celebrating, according to a Federal agricultural research group which believes they are having their best spell in years.
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences - or ABARES - says graziers are recovering, grain crops are strong and selling well, plus sugar farmers are recovering from last year's cyclone damage.
ABARES agricultural commodities manager Peter Collins said every individual farmer would have their own circumstances but most should have reason to smile.
"We have had pretty good conditions for the last two years," Mr Collins said.
"In both of those years in the eastern states, we have had some pretty good crops.
"In terms of prices, they are not as high as what they were, but by historical levels, they are still quite reasonable."
Mr Collins said grain was strong, cotton had a big crop this year and the beef industry was finally able to rebuild their herds.
Sugar, too, is recovering from "stoodovers" from the 2011-12 crop.
"In the Darling Downs, the last two years have been very, very good for cropping people."
He said the drought in the United States was forcing up the price of corn as production tumbled, which, in turn, was dragging up the price of grain.
On top of that, the weather seems to have actually helped for once.
"All I can say is that climatic conditions have been very kind in the past couple of years," he said.
"At this early stage of the season, we have to assume that weather conditions this year will be about average.
"If they are drier than that, then that's always a potential threat for the cropping industries."