Cattle survive Cyclone Yasi
DESTRUCTION: Cattleman Cameron Smart shows where his cattle became stranded among barriers of fallen pine trees TULLY cattleman Cameron Smart is counting his lucky stars he didn’t lose more cattle than he did when Cyclone Yasi destroyed a pine plantation on which he runs his herd.
He lost a handful of cows under fallen trees, but is thankful that a lot more of the cattle that were stranded in ‘‘ stockyards’’ of crashed and interlocking plantation pines didn’t die from thirst or starvation.
He said fortunately in the days and weeks immediately after the cyclone there was almost daily rain and that the stranded stock, ‘‘ locked in’’ behind barriers of fallen pines, managed to get enough water to survive from puddles.
‘‘ When the cyclone started coming in the cattle instinctively went to the leeward end of the paddock, away from the wind,’’ Mr Smart said.
‘‘ They ended up getting cut off down there. There was so much timber down and the way it fell it formed pens that just boxed them in.
‘‘ They’d been drinking water from rain puddles for seven days.
‘‘ I walked in with a chainsaw and I had to cut through the timber so they could get out.’’
He said the plantation was so difficult to navigate, the balance of the herd had taken three weeks to walk back to grazing grounds less than 2km away in the same paddock.
He said in order to get the cattle out, he would feed them molasses and gradually lure them into a specially designed trap yard then take them to another property.