Port Macquarie's camel tour operators are facing some unusual challenges this season, with a string of gusty days and lack of stock feed squeezing profits.
It's been a hot start to the season for Port Macquarie Camel Safaris' owners John Hardy and Michael Doust as they take visiting tourists for a daily stroll along Lighthouse Beach with their nine camels.
Owner, operator John Hardy said early in the year was traditionally their most busy period but they were facing potential-dangerous strong winds each morning.
"We have had strong winds every day this year so far, it does mean we come off the beach earlier," he said.
"We have had bogey-boards, umbrellas been picked up by the wind and fly at us, even dog bags being caught around the camels feet.
"If it gets too bad we have to stop - this season so far has been the windiest in 12 years."
Owner, operator Michael Doust said it was not the only concerns the enterprise had this year, with steeper hay prices.
"Bales of hay were about $22 each last year which is normal but they shot up to $32 or $35 a bale at one stage," he said.
"When it gets to that level running costs went through the roof.
“It’s because of the drought, you can't get hay bales easily and there is more competition from other buyers.
"It’s about supply and demand, and I've been told hay will go up to what it was last year or more."
Oxley Rural Supplies salesman Mick Knox said a lack of rain last year was creating follow on effects.
"Prices peaked in May last year before coming back down due to late rain, but because of the drought prices have stayed high," he said.
"They have come down a little bit but are likely to go up with the cost of irrigation and water."
Mr Knox said feed prices depended on availability of rain, water and cheap electricity.
"In the immediate future our suppliers have got some (supplies) for us, but we can't predict in couple of months," he said,
"This is the worst year for a long time, the eastern states are suffering."
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