HEAT TAKES TOLL
QUEENSLAND graziers could be forced to shoot their cattle as parts of the state are savaged by soaring temperatures on top of an extended drought.
AgForce cattle president Bim Struss said if the rain didn’t come soon, some graziers would be faced with no option but to shoot their cattle as the feed ran out and the animals grew too weak to be moved to market, putting them down for their own welfare.
Mr Struss said the devastating decision to euthanase could be forced on graziers in south-east Queensland hammered by the dry, early, soaring 40C-plus temperatures and sold-out or hard to find fodder and supplements.
He said many operators in western Queensland had already destocked – selling their cattle on while they could still be moved.
But he expected others closer to the coast had held on in the hope of rain.
But with early heat making the dry conditions worse, farmers would be left with no choice but to euthanase weak stock.
“We have an animal welfare responsibility to the cattle,” Mr Struss said.
“I haven’t heard of it yet in any quantity. But it’s not that far away if we get temperatures in the 40Cs and dams are drying up and grass is getting destroyed.
“There will be people who have to euthanase cattle.
“I would expect before Christmas people will have to euthanase cattle.
“A lot of people have made the big decision and moved their cattle but some people in areas have expected rain and not got it.”
Mitchell grazier and AgForce general president Grant Maudsley said parts of southern Queensland were very dry, with his property getting just 15cm of rain in 12 months when it averaged 50cm.
He said he, like other graziers, had destocked and saved his paddocks for the rain that would eventually come.
He said areas roughly north of a line from Townsville to Mt Isa had received good rain and were having a better year.
It comes as Brisbane looks set to endure its driest September on record, having recorded its first rainfall last Friday.
An afternoon thunderstorm broke the two-month-long dry spell which had seen only 5mm of rain fall in Brisbane since July 20.
Following this, the Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a sunny week in Brisbane and the south-west, with a low level of precipitation.
Weatherzone meteorologist Graeme Brittain said conditions came together last week, providing Brisbane’s first real summer afternoon thunderstorm.
DROUGHT RELIEF: The Burrumbuttock Hay Runners’ huge convoy of 250 prime movers and 400 trailers complete their 1860km run, hauling $6 million worth of hay to Ilfracombe, east of Longreach, to start unloading for distribution to local drought-affected graziers.