In this file:
· 'Hundreds of thousands' of cattle feared dead after Australia floods
· Queensland graziers face 300,000 lost cattle, $300 million flood losses
· More than 1000 cattle to die in record Queensland floods
· ‘Sea of dead cattle’ across Queensland’s flood ravaged northwest
'Hundreds of thousands' of cattle feared dead after Australia floods
February 8, 2019
Hundreds of thousands of cattle weakened from a severe drought are feared to have died in record-breaking floods in northeastern Australia, authorities said Friday, as they stepped up efforts to feed surviving livestock.
Incessant rains over an almost two-week period have flooded swathes of Queensland state, with the full scale of the devastation on drought-hit cattle stations becoming clearer as floodwaters recede.
"We are expecting hundreds of thousands in terms of stock losses," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Sydney.
"This will be heartbreaking to these communities that have been experiencing years of drought, only to see that turn into a torrential inundation which threatens now their very livelihoods in the complete other direction."
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk Friday spoke of seeing a "sea of dead cattle" when she toured one region on Thursday.
"To see the cattle spread across these yards, not moving, it made you feel sick in the stomach," she told national broadcaster ABC.
Bales of hay and fuel have been transported into towns near the disaster zones and are being distributed to farmers so they can carry out airdrops to their stock.
Farmer Rachael Anderson and her husband, who manage Eddington cattle station near Julia Creek township, said 800 of their 1500 cattle were still unaccounted for.
"The cattle didn't have anywhere else to go... We've got a railway line close to us and the whole railway line is just tangled with dead cattle," Anderson told AFP.
"If the floodwater wasn't enough to kill them, then those that got to higher areas were exposed to elements that were not conducive like rain hitting them at 60 kilometres an hour. They can't survive them long term."
Anderson—who had been hand-feeding cattle over the past few months amid the crippling drought—said there were also many dead kangaroos as well as birds that were falling dead on the ground...
Queensland graziers face 300,000 lost cattle, $300 million flood losses
A crisis is unfolding in western Queensland where graziers are discovering the full scale of damage caused by floodwaters, with their losses expected to worsen.
Feb 8, 2019
Floodwaters have killed up to 300,000 head of cattle in western Queensland, with losses so far put at a staggering $300 million.
But the number is expected to rise as the floodwaters reach the big breeder herds in the northern shires of Carpentaria and Burke.
Richmond Mayor John Wharton says there have been already been huge stock losses in his area, as well as McKinlay shire, and parts of Flinders and Cloncurry shires.
At an average value of $1000 a head, the estimated cattle losses amount to a $300 million blow.
"That's just in the shires down here but as this water goes into the gulf shires, where there is seven to eight million head of cattle, we are going to lose more, that's for sure," he said.
Graziers say they feel broken by horrific scenes of dead cattle in every direction and many of those impacted are yet to venture to the far flung corners of their stations.
They now face years without an income.
Rural lobbyist AgForce is scrambling to get emergency hay shipments to stranded cattle, desperate to prevent more from dying.
Michael Guerin, the group's chief executive, said authorities were facing "a dynamic, unfolding situation of catastrophic proportions".
Deliveries of feed are finally heading north to the disaster zone after being held up for days by a lack of coordination between different levels of government...
More than 1000 cattle to die in record Queensland floods
By Toby Crockford and Sally Cripps, Brisbane Times (Australia)
February 7, 2019
Farmers in Queensland's north-west are helpless as their cattle, some bogged in waterlogged paddocks, starve to death by the hundreds.
More than 1000 livestock are expected to perish and the situation has become so desperate the military will drop fodder into isolated homesteads that have become islands in the wake of record rain.
Rachael Anderson, at Eddington, west of Julia Creek in north-west Queensland, was one of the emotionally exhausted landholders who woke up to water surrounding her homestead.
She felt broken by the thought of how her stock was 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 told Queensland Country Life.
"We are up over the 60-millimetre mark. I’ve stopped counting, I don’t want to know any more.”
She has seen cows struggling in the swollen Eastern Creek on their doorstep and expected to lose cows and calves at the very least.
"For us, the losses would be into the hundreds already, and the concerns are the same for most of us. We expect thousands will be lost across the district," Ms Anderson said.
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the Australian Defence Force would use its aircraft to help graziers.
"Thousands of cattle are cut off by floodwaters and we had to act decisively to stop them from starving," he said.
"I wrote to the Queensland Agriculture Minister yesterday letting him know the federal government was ready to assist in any way necessary."
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk vowed on Thursday to visit the affected areas to see the devastation.
"We heard today first-hand from the mayors of Richmond, Flinders and Winton ... they expressed to us the enormity of the situation out there, especially when there's going to be cattle loss," she said...
more, including photos, video [2:10 min.]
‘Sea of dead cattle’ across Queensland’s flood ravaged northwest
by Jon Condon, Beef Central
08 February 2019
QUEENSLAND Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk has described seeing a ‘sea of dead cattle’ during an aerial and ground inspection of flood-ravaged northwest Queensland yesterday.
The natural disaster that is unfolding across the region (see Wednesday’s original report) continues to worsen, with Federal Government ministers and prime minister Scott Morrison meeting today to discuss emergency relief measures for the flood-affected area. The government has already announced an extra $3 million in mental health services would be provided to enable a surge response team to help people in northern and western Queensland.
Like many properties across the region, Cowan Downs near Cloncurry is completely isolated by floodwaters this week
A huge swathe of pastoral land stretching from Hughenden in the east to Cloncurry in the west – a distance of more than 400km – is largely under water after falls of 600mm or more fell across the region in the past fortnight. Low-lying areas are in places under three metres of water, and major river systems like the Flinders stretch from horizon to horizon from the air. The worst affected area also extends south towards McKinlay and Kynuna, and north into the lower Gulf region.
One producer with large cattle grazing interests in the Julia Creek area suggested up to one million cattle may be located within the worst-affected zone.
“It’s flooding of biblical proportions,” he said. “It’s exceeded all previous known flood levels – some records going back 100 years or more. Some properties have exactly zero land above water,” he said.
Cattle already weakened by severe drought conditions have died, or are dying, in alarming numbers, either through exposure after weeks of solid rain followed by cold winds, lack of access feed, bogging in quagmire conditions on isolated high spots or simply being swept away in the floodwaters.
Julia Creek cattle producers Jake and Sally Webster provide a graphic account of the situation on their family property Balootha, on the Flinders River in today’s separate report.
A fleet of helicopters have been performing emergency fodder drops out of centres like Richmond and Julia Creek, and emergency hay supplies have arrived today in Longreach.
One producer described a ‘hopeless situation’ to Beef Central on Wednesday, where desperately hungry cattle receiving fodder drops from the air on patches of high ground were churning the pads near the hay so badly that they were bogging themselves and perishing.
“It will be a very, very difficult time… for those who are out on stations, on the ground with their stock which are dying in the most horrific circumstances,” prime minister Scott Morrison said today. “They will need our support.”
Further north in the lower gulf, slow-moving water is still rising along the Flinders and Saxby Rivers. Some pastoral company-owned properties in the region are understood to face an additional challenge, having earlier received uplifts of additional cattle from desperately dry company properties further west towards the Barkly Tableland.
A spokesman for the Australian Agricultural Co would not speculate on likely losses on company properties like Canobie and Wondoola. “We know there’s been a significant flood event, but anything beyond that is still speculation at this stage,” the spokesman said.
Stock loss fears continue to mount ...
Green shoots ...
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