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'Damage of #SADrought will take years to undo'

While livestock farmers could still benefit from potential rainfall, for maize farmers it’s simply too late.

Cattle carcasses on the fields of a farm in Free State. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Farmers in the Free State say it could take years for them to recover financially as they battle the country's worst drought in decades.

Eyewitness News visited several farms in the Free State, where farmers say they don't know how much longer they can survive the dry spell.

Many livestock farmers have taken their animals to the gallows early while maize farmers are simply unable to plant any crops.

"The fact is, it's actually unmanageable."

Maize farmer Errol Haddad says even if it starts raining, the damage of the crippling drought will take years to undo.

"It will take at least about three to four years before we can even break even."

Hansie Marais, a sheep farmer also in the Free State, says the value of his livestock has decreased sharply because he's no longer able to feed the animals.

"We have to sell our lambs three or four kilograms lighter. We also had a decline in our wool production."

Both farmers say they will need major financial assistance to help them to recover.

WATCH: Free State farmers hit hard by #SAdrought

RAINFALL NOT ENOUGH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Drought stricken farmers say the rains that have fallen in parts of the country haven't been enough to make any difference to their situation.

2015 has been listed as the driest year in South Africa in over a century.

The Free State farmers who spoke to EWN say they haven't had sufficient rainfall for close to three years.

Haddad says he has only managed to plant a disappointing portion of maize on his farm because he can't irrigate the land.

"These are about 500 hectares of maize field. I was only able to plant about 10 to 13 hectares."

With only three months left until winter, Marais says livestock farmers like himself are desperately hoping for rain now, to allow grazing grass to grow sufficiently before the tough season.

"There's no money left. I've used up all the money I have."

While livestock farmers could still benefit from potential rainfall, for maize farmers it's simply too late.

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