The shock waves ripple out
Pressure for fodder builds as pastures remain inundated
THE main challenge facing farmers now was their ability to get fodder crops into pasture, said the CEO of NSW Farmers, Matt Brand.
Dairy had taken a hit, with the loss of 50,000 litres of milk, but everything was running smoothly once again, Mr Brand said.
“However, there has been large amounts of silage washed away and water damage means that much of the winter feed is only good for compost.
“Hopefully mother nature will co-operate and the waters will subside enough to get the winter pastures planted.”
One farm along the Kyogle Road “copped a real flogging”, said one observer, with a heap of silage bales pushed up onto the railway line.
So far there didn’t appear to have been substantial stock losses, Mr Brand said, and farmers reported “the usual losses” – fences, stockyards, roads.
“There’s a lot of mud still on the pastures,” Kyogle resident Peter Brown said.
“Farmers really need half an inch of rain to clean it so the stock have something to eat.”
Rural stores reported big sales of rye grass seed, with farmers stocking up for when they are able to get to their pastures.
The pressure on farmers will increase as winter comes on and the tropical pastures cease to grow.
One farmer said he expected to see quite a lot of hay traded in the coming months.
And he said, with the high prices in the cattle industry, anyone who was in a really bad way who had to sell cattle was in a pretty good position.
The Harnetts, dairy farmers Rob and Sue in Burringbar, said they “got through reasonably well”, although they lost several kilometres of electric fencing all along the creek flats.
“A few bales of silage had a bit of water around it but we won’t really know the damage until we open them up,” he said. “We were able to get dry cows out onto the other side of the farm before the floods hit,” he said, but there were some in the area who lost some stock because “it happened so quickly”.
The Harnetts sourced a generator from Byron Bay and were able to milk late on the Friday evening.
“The cows went for 26 hours without milking, which we could manage.
“But any longer than that would cause problems such as mastitis.”
It was just lucky no one in the village lost their lives, Rob said, “but some people can’t return to their homes, they’re so devastated”.
WRONG WAY: A ute sinks in flood waters near Grafton.