Farmers encouraged to open homes to drought-hit Australians

An aerial view of the cattle feeding operation on the property'Toorawandi owned by Coonabrabran farmer Ambrose Doolan

Drought pushes Australian farmers to brink as they are given licence to kill kangaroos

Australia's most populous state is now "100 percent" in drought following the most intense dry spell in more than 50 years.

Kiwi farmers are being urged to extend the hand of mateship to their drought-stricken Australian counterparts.

3 / 4 Farmers are struggling to feed their livestock.

There have been reports of farmers shooting cattle and hand-feeding animals because the ground is too dry for grass to grow.

The emergency conditions have been caused by a period of unusually dry weather with less than 10mm recorded in some parts of the state. "They are shooting them because they just can't afford to feed them anymore", Tash Johnston, co-founder of charity Drought Angels, told AFP.

The US will subsidise farmers and buy unsold crops, among other measures; farmers growing soybeans, sorghum and wheat will get the most aid.

New South Wales officials released figures on Wednesday showing that every part of the state is affected, with nearly one-quarter classified as being in "intense drought".

What is drought and when is it declared?

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The Bureau of Meteorology's latest climate outlook for the next three months is predicting high chances of warmer and drier conditions over the drought-affected regions.

Conditions are similarly dire in Queensland to the north, where the state government says almost 60 percent of land is suffering drought conditions.

It includes two lump sum payments worth up to A$12,000 per household, and changes to an assets test to grant support to thousands more farmers. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said earlier this week conditions were so bad that the country had to accept it was a "land of drought and flooding rains".

"We can't make it rain".

NSW Farmers' Association president James Jackson welcomed the government measures, but cautioned it was vital to ensure ongoing support, particularly to address mental health.

4 / 4 Some parts of New South Wales have experienced the lowest rainfall on record over the past year.

Others have had to bulldoze orchards or lose their farms, leaving entire families without income, according to Australian media.

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