AACo warns of tens of thousands of potential cattle losses


By Darren Gray, The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) 

March 12, 2019


The listed cattle producer Australian Agricultural Company has signalled that its cattle losses from the north west Queensland floods could be more than 52,000 head in a worst-case scenario.


AACo is also facing more than $50 million in extra production and operating expenses this financial year due to the severe dry conditions hitting its properties in the Barkly region of the Northern Territory and south-west Queensland. The dry conditions in these regions have added extra grain, feeding and transport costs in particular.


AACo said the impact of floodwaters had severely impacted four of its properties in the Gulf region.


Losses at the hard-hit Wondoola station could be as high as 90 per cent, AACo warned, adding that the property carried about 33,000 head before the floods hit.


The beef producer said flood levels in the Gulf region had "largely receded" now, enabling on ground assessments of the impact on both livestock and infrastructure to be undertaken.


The company said that minimum estimated survival rates on Wondoola station were 10-20 per cent, on Conobie station 60-70 per cent, on Dalgonally 20-30 per cent, and on Carrum 65-75 per cent.


Extrapolating these numbers suggests that on a worst-case scenario, a minimum of 29,625 cattle on the four properties would survive. Before the floods, the four properties carried a total of about 82,500 head of cattle.


"As anticipated, the scale of the flooding event has seen cattle distributed over great distances outside of defined property boundaries. It is estimated that tens of thousands of kilometres of boundary fences across the Gulf region have been destroyed and it will be some months before these are fully repaired," AACo said.


AACo said that early estimates of the cost...