AS the water withdraws on flood-affected properties across the Central Highlands, graziers are beginning the laborious job of fence and infrastructure repairs, a task that must be complete before livestock numbers can be assessed and cattle mustered.
AgForce Vice President Ian Burnett said it may be several months before Central Queensland graziers were able to fully assess their livestock numbers, as recent flash flooding had caused a number to be displaced downstream.
“Usually the livestock will get swept downstream for as long as it takes to hit land again, a lot of them survive and it’s really only the calves that may have trouble,” Mr Burnett said.
“They’re incredibly resilient, they seem to just roll on their side and go with the flow until they can make it out of the water. After that they’ll just find somewhere to graze.”
Since December 31, AgForce and the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation have coordinated fodder drops for about 10,000 stranded cattle in Central Queensland alone.
Zane Habermann of Springsure’s Central Park Helicopters said he had spent quite a lot of time locating missing cattle with his helicopter over the past few weeks.
“So far we’ve found about 1200 scattered around the place,” Mr Habermann said.
“Most jobs have had happy endings, there’s a lot of green feed around and once we locate them, it’s just a matter of trying to get them back.
“They’ll mostly stick together and we’ve been lucky because the water goes up and down fairly quickly up this way.
“They can be very traumatised and completely burnt out by the time you get to them, there’s also the worry of sandflies and three-day sickness.”
Ra Briggs, a grazier from Cona Creek, 30km west of Springsure, has expressed fears for his livestock after witnessing raging floodwaters rip through his property at a rate powerful enough to leave a fully grown wild pig stuck in a tree at least 10 feet above the ground.
The Central Highlands grazier said he’d been on the property for 25 years and had never seen anything similar to the floods that swept through in late December.
“Some of the neighbours have been here a lot longer than me and they are saying the same thing,” he said.
“I never thought water could wash a pig that size 10 feet up a tree the way it did.
“I’m expecting we’ll have cattle losses after the power we’ve seen on display. We did a bit of a fly-over because we don’t have access to much of the property yet and it looked like we could be a bit short (on cattle).
“I’m worried because we put 200 bullock cattle in the week before Christmas and I’m not sure how they’re going because we haven’t had access to them.”
Mr Burnett warned the process of identifying and transporting the herds of displaced cattle could be lengthy, especially when vital farm infrastructure, such as fencing, was damaged.
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