Pictures like this get trotted out whenever there is a dry spell. The moment that drought makes a headline, you see bare, empty paddocks like this one on TV and in the papers. This is eye-catching, of course, but it doesn’t really illustrate drought. What it shows is terrible land management, and you can sum up the worst feature of that land mismanagement in a single word: goats.
In outback New South Wales they will tell you this to your face. "Oh yes," the locals will tell you, "goats are the best thing for this country, they eat everything". And that is exactly right — for hundreds of kilometres around, there is not a blade of grass, not even dry stick on the ground smaller than your thumb. No leaf litter, nothing. Goats have eaten the lot. Landholders put sheep on the country until the sheep starve, then put the goats on to eat the roots, the bark, the fallen leaves, even the sticks.