From drought to flood in a day

Replacing fences has become a major issue for many farmers.
Replacing fences has become a major issue for many farmers.

DROUGHT changed to flood overnight at Barmount Station Feedlot, Clarke Creek when 350mm of rain fell overnight last week.

Sean Conaghan said it was the highest 24-hour rainfall recorded for the property since it started keeping records in 1950.

"A total of 425mm was recorded from the rain depression and flood, which has badly damaged our irrigation dam," he said.

"Most properties in the area recorded about 350mm.

"All the water from this area and the floodwaters in the Nebo, Isaac, Mackenzie and other creeks and rivers is now raising levels in the Fitzroy and heading to Rockhampton."

Prior to the rain, the property had been receiving a lot of inquiries from beef producers, forced by the continued dry conditions to consider all alternatives to get their cattle prepared for market.

"We were hoping for falls of about 200mm to fill dams and get a full profile of moisture to plant summer crops, but the deluge did a lot of damage and we spent the next day fixing all boundaries with the old highway," Mr Conaghan said.

"There is only a small window in which to plant our summer crops now and we hope to get onto cultivating as soon as we can."

Overall 2012 had been a good year until the rain cut out in the middle of August.

The Conaghans had cattle from other producers and a good supply of their own cattle in the feedlot.

"We trucked cattle out in the new year to supply Thomas Borthwick & Sons for the start of processing in early January."

Barmount had a forward contract to supply Borthwicks early in the year and they planned their kill and the contract removed the weather element for supply to the meatworks.

Mr Conaghan said everyone was relieved to know the Clermont and Emerald areas also received enough rain to plant summer crops, although they would probably need in-crop rain to carry them to maturity.

Barmount was the first feedlot established in this area of central Queensland.

It caters for many of the cattle that are exhibited in the grain-fed classed at Mackay Regional Show and carcase competition, which is held at Thomas Borthwicks.

Cattle fed at Barmount also featured in some excellent results in the first ever national beef carcase competition, which was judged by Wayne Davis, of Sarina. He travelled an astronomical distance by plane during the competition, which was the first of its kind in the world.

Topics:  drought flood oswald

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