In this file: 

 

·         Australia's biggest cattle company announces massive cattle losses in Qld floods

… AACo managing director, Hugh Killen, said the losses of cows and calves had been extreme…

 

·         Up to 500,000 drought-stressed cattle killed in Queensland floods

After years of drought graziers were elated when the rain came. Now floods have created a humanitarian crisis

 

 

Australia's biggest cattle company announces massive cattle losses in Qld floods

 

By Amy Phillips and Jodie Gunders, ABC Rural (Australia)

Feb 11, 20198

 

Australia's largest pastoral company says it has lost thousands of cattle in unprecedented flooding, including almost 30,000 head on one of its Gulf of Carpentaria stations alone.

 

The Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) runs more than half a million cattle across 24 stations and feedlots in Queensland and the Northern Territory to breed and fatten stock for export consumption.

 

WARNING: This article contains photos that some readers may find distressing.

 

In a statement to the Australia Stock Exchange, AACo said its 2,500 square kilometre Wondoola station, 130km south of Normanton, had experiencing its highest flood levels ever, forcing the evacuation of station staff from the property as water rose to the eaves of buildings.

 

The property is located between the Flinders and Saxby Rivers, where breeding cattle usually graze the floodplain grasses that naturally grow after a wet season.

 

Last week, the Flinders River broke both its banks, and its rainfall records, when hundreds of millimetres of rain fell within several days, upstream of the station.

 

AACo managing director, Hugh Killen, said the losses of cows and calves had been extreme.

 

"Wondoola is at the epicentre of flooding in the Gulf right now, as the station is in the deepest and widest part of the impacted area," Mr Killen said.

 

"We'll have to see what happens over the coming days and weeks, but it looks grim for those cattle."

 

Large stock losses have been recorded across the company's other gulf stations: Canobie, Dalgonally, and Carrum.

 

Mr Killen said those three properties had a herd of approximately 50,000 head of mainly composite cows and their calves and were expected to sustain lower but still material losses.

 

"We haven't disclosed the breakdown of numbers across those three properties, but it's been a pretty tough one on Dalgonally," he said.

 

"Unlike Wondoola, the water came up to our buildings at Dalgonally but not through them, so we haven't had inundation on our infrastructure."

 

With staff from Wondoola Station, as well as nearby Canobie, Dalgonally, and Curram safe, Mr Killen said attention would now turn to keeping remaining cattle alive.

 

"Prior to the flood we had in place a significant number of helicopters and fodder on hand, so we could get into the area early on and fodder out to cattle," he said.

 

In the statement to the stock exchange AACo said that its losses were significant and that the overall impact on the company's financial earnings was expected to be material, and management would work through an evaluation of the situation.

 

It also said the current operating conditions were not expected to affect the company's ability to fulfil its supply obligations or the rollout of its branded beef strategy, which would continue to be a key focus.

 

Stock losses 'won't define us', says AACo boss ...

 

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https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2019-02-11/aaco-stock-losses-extreme-on-gulf-of-carpentaria-stations/10800366

 

 

Up to 500,000 drought-stressed cattle killed in Queensland floods

After years of drought graziers were elated when the rain came. Now floods have created a humanitarian crisis

 

Ben Smee and agencies, The Guardian (UK)

11 Feb 2019

 

In north-west Queensland it hadn’t rained, any decent rain, for more than five years.

 

When the downpour finally came last week, graziers were elated. Now it’s feared up to 500,000 cattle, mostly from severely drought-stressed herds, have been killed in widespread flood waters.

 

The full extent of the losses won’t be known for weeks; some properties remain underwater and the flood waters are moving south. But the agricultural industry’s peak body says the situation has already become “a massive humanitarian crisis”, affecting an area twice the size of Victoria.

 

After a prolonged drought, some rural parts of Queensland received three years’ worth of average rainfall in a week.

 

At Eddington station near Julia Creek in western Queensland, Rachael Anderson says she lost about 2,000 cattle, roughly half the station’s herd. Farmers know recovering from such stock losses will put them under severe financial stress.

 

“I can provide for my family right now,” Anderson said. “But in six months’ time or when the bank comes for their repayment, I don’t know what I’m going to do, none of us know what we are going to do.

 

“We can’t get loans because we’ve got nothing to borrow against, none of us have got anything left.

 

“I’m not going to lie, it will finish some people up, but others will be rebuilding.”

 

Parts of Eddington station have been badly eroded from the vast amount of flood water that washed through, and there are now dead cattle in the creek, which they had been using for water to brush their teeth and wash clothes.

 

She said a rotting stench had set in, but farmers still don’t know what to do with the livestock.

 

“There are feral pigs that will come and eat that, there are feral cats that will come and eat that, and there will probably be a plague of them after this.”

 

The chief executive officer of AgForce, the peak body for the Queensland cattle industry, Michael Guerin, said farmers could take decades to recover.

 

“There is no doubt that this is a disaster of unprecedented proportion,” Guerin said.

 

“The speed and intensity of the unfolding tragedy makes it hard to believe that it’s just a week since farmers’ elation at receiving the first decent rains in five years turned to horror at the devastating and unprecedented flood that quickly followed.

 

“The latest reports confirm our earliest fears (that) this is a massive humanitarian crisis ... and is steadily expanding southwards.”

 

The group has sent emergency fodder to more than 150,000 head of cattle that have no other access to feed.

 

Guerin said the full extent of livestock losses would not be known until the water fully recedes, but some estimates put losses up to 500,000 out of 10.5m head of cattle in Queensland.

 

“I implore governments of all levels, as well as other agencies involved in this mammoth undertaking, to put aside red tape, bureaucratic wrangling and patch protection, and understand the desperate situation of so many producers...

 

more

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/feb/11/up-to-500000-drought-stressed-cattle-killed-in-queensland-floods