In this file:
· Stock losses mounting for north west cattle producers
Stock losses of more than a thousand head are expected in the state’s north west, as torrential rain and ongoing gale force winds continue to batter the region…
· Drought-stricken Aussie farmers now battered by floods
… Australia's military has been called in to drop fodder to cattle stranded by floodwaters in Queensland state to stop them from starving, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said, with their owners still marooned in their farmsteads…
· Weekly property review: 2019 prospects hinge on drought’s end
… while much of eastern Australia had experienced severe drought over the past 12 to 18 months, most investors were taking a medium to long-term view of investment in the sector, regarding the extended dry as a short-term cash flow deficit period…
Stock losses mounting for north west cattle producers
Sally Cripps, Queensland Country Life (Australia)
6 Feb 2019
Stock losses of more than a thousand head are expected in the state’s north west, as torrential rain and ongoing gale force winds continue to batter the region.
Rachael Anderson, at Eddington, west of Julia Creek, was one of the emotionally exhausted landholders to wake up to unprecedented scenes of floodwater surrounding their homestead and she said they feel broken by the thought of how their stock are coping.
“Everything was fine until two days ago – we’d had a lovely amount of rain, we were really happy – but seven inches in one night on top of that has broken us,” she said. “We are up over the 600mm mark. I’ve stopped counting, I don’t want to know anymore.”
While they only had 10mm overnight, 50mm had fallen in a short space of time on Wednesday morning and they’d heard that falls of 125mm had been recorded upstream overnight, which will bring a fresh onslaught of water.
They have seen cows struggling in the swollen Eastern Creek on their doorstep and with 25 per cent of their 17,000ha property prone to flooding in normal circumstances, they expect to have lost cows and calves at least.
Rachael said some stock would be able to make it back to land but even without floodwaters to contend with, the conditions had been extreme for days.
Her husband Anthony had been able to rescue some of the stock that had become bogged close to the house.
“For us, the losses would be into the hundreds already, and the concerns are the same for most of us,” she said. “We expect thousands will be lost across the district.”
It’s a catastrophic situation that is seeing even birds drowning from sheer exhaustion.
Rachael said they watched an eagle struggling in floodwaters flowing past, having become too waterlogged to cope any longer.
The Andersons and others in the north west say they were expecting and prepared for a flood of 2009 proportions but no-one foresaw what was taking place now.
“We could have swung a few gates if we’d thought this was going to happen, but now choppers can’t fly in the rain and the wind is horrendous, and some are running out of fuel,” Rachael said. “It’s just too dangerous to put boats in the water at the moment, with fences and whatnot submerged.”
As far as getting hay and help to their marooned cattle went, Rachel said helicopters were coming to the area as soon as possible, but that there weren’t enough to service everyone in need...
Drought-stricken Aussie farmers now battered by floods
Townsville (Australia) (AFP)
Australian ranchers who struggled to keep their cattle alive during a prolonged drought last year are now battling to save herds from record-breaking floods inundating the northeast of the country, officials said on Wednesday.
Australia's military has been called in to drop fodder to cattle stranded by floodwaters in Queensland state to stop them from starving, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said, with their owners still marooned in their farmsteads.
"This is absolutely heart-breaking for producers who have expended enormous amounts of money and energy keeping their herds alive through the drought, only to see them now devastated by floods," said Michael Guerin of the farm lobby group AgForce.
The losses for farmers from the floods were likely to be in the "hundreds of millions of dollars" he said.
Swathes of Australia's eastern inland, including Queensland, have been plagued by a severe and prolonged drought that pushed farmers to breaking point as they struggled to keep their cattle and crops alive.
While the late arrival of the monsoon in mid-January initially sparked joy among graziers as it brought much-needed rain to the parched lands, celebrations turned to horror as incessant downpours destroyed herds and washed away properties.
"Stock losses will be much higher than normal, because drought-weakened cattle are more susceptible to being caught and drowned in floodwaters or dying of exposure in the wet, cold winds," Guerin said.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Vinord Anand said some drought-affected communities received hardly any rain in December and the start of the year before the heavens opened.
"It's like the flicking of a switch -- it's been dry, dry, dry and then suddenly you get a year's worth of rain in 37 days," he told AFP.
Farmer Rachael Anderson said she expected that some 200 cattle at a station she manages near Julia Creek township have so far died...
Weekly property review: 2019 prospects hinge on drought’s end
By Linda Rowley, Beef Central (Australia)
06 February 2019
WITH 2019 now well underway, three leading rural property specialists this week reveal their expectations for the New Year cattle property market.
CBRE Agribusiness regional director Danny Thomas is expecting the 2019 market to remain relatively buoyant throughout the first two quarters.
“However, the farmer-to-farmer market may experience lower demand in the second half of the year if the persistent drought across much of eastern Australia and tightening credit/lending conditions create barriers for local farmers to make long term purchasing decisions,” he said.
“The new year’s key drivers are likely to include access to credit, stability of commodity prices and the status of the ongoing east coast drought – whether or not it breaks and the extent to which it affects credit availability and confidence,” Mr Thomas said.
Ray White Rural & Livestock chief executive Stephen Nell said although there had been a lot of jawboning and press about tightened credit and the impact this could have on rural sales, drought is currently the single biggest factor in the farmer-to-farmer market.
“The reality is that credit is always hard to obtain in the farmer-to-farmer space, and the impact of tightened credit on the residential regional real estate market will be felt far more than the ag sector. That’s why auction will be so critical in an adjusted market, to keep days-on-market low and to attract qualified buyers who have the finance to complete the sale.”
Mr Nell said in recent years, producer margins had shrunk due to the burden of higher input costs, and the more astute landholders realised that turnover is the key to profit.
“This has created a hunger for scale to offset these costs, and has made many landholders keen to purchase additional country to deliver efficiencies through such scale. This in itself is creating competition for rural properties that is competing against both local and foreign based purchasers who are keen to purchase in a market where there are limited quality offerings.”
Chris Meares, the principal of rural marketing agent Meares & Associates, said a change in market dynamics had resulted in a shift in lending criteria.
“While the 2016/17 rural property market saw a very strong dominance of overseas buying interest for the larger/corporate type investments, Australian buyers, including family farm investors, corporate and institutional investors, came to the fore from late 2017/18,” he said.
“As a result, agribusiness investments in Australia are now being recognised by domestic asset allocators as an asset class, especially for corporate / institutional type investments.”
Mr Meares said this global and institutional recognition had seen banks and others shift from valuing on a client recognition or comparative sale basis to more of a returns or yield basis.
“This has resulted in not only a supply and demand equation but the global prices for commodities and farm returns becoming important.”
He said while much of eastern Australia had experienced severe drought over the past 12 to 18 months, most investors were taking a medium to long-term view of investment in the sector, regarding the extended dry as a short-term cash flow deficit period.
“In many cases there has been a focus on well-situated higher rainfall country, as a means of minimising risk and exposure.”
Institutional investment and the Aussie dollar ...
Foreign investment ...
Property prices may have peaked ...