Flood hits dairy producer on multiple fronts

WITH milk production down 1000 litres a day, kilometres of fences down and disease starting to run through his herd, Bevan Rattey is starting to regret his decision to buy his father's dairy farm.

For the second time in two years, Bevan has been left counting the cost of floods. And those costs are mounting.

Since the flooding subsided last week, he has been working from 4am-9pm trying to get the farm, which is near Murgon, west of Gympie, back in order. He's got some way to go.

I'm just going through and picking up after all the damage and trying to get the cows healthy.

Between three to four kilometres of barbed wire fencing was trashed, kilometres more of electric fencing has been flattened and stretched, and now mastitis is starting to appear in his 130-cow milking herd.

Pastures are covered in mud and his cattle are sore from standing for days.

"I'm just going through and picking up after all the damage and trying to get the cows healthy," he said.

"If I knew this was going to happen every couple of years I would give up now."

Bevan and his wife Sandra bought the property from Bevan's father in 1999 and initially didn't want to take on the dairy.

"I saw how hard mum and dad worked and the hours they put in," he said.

But his father convinced him the rewards were there.

Then came deregulation, the supermarket-driven milk price wars and now consecutive floods.

"I would have been better getting some off-farm income," he said.

Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation chief executive officer Adrian Peake said the devastating impacts of Cyclone Oswald were being assessed, with early estimates that the torrential rain and flooding have impacted about 50% of the Queensland industry and the damage and losses will be near $40 million.

"It is clear that many regions and farmers will need further assistance through Category C assistance, and we are working with government on seeing the elevation of assistance to Category C as a matter of urgency," he said.

"We are also seeking urgent support from government for additional response and recovery staff in the field to assist with the immediate situation and the recovery."

He said farmers with urgent needs should contact processor field service officers or the QDO office on 3236 2955 or 24-hour number 0459 362 955 (after hours), while he encouraged farmers in a manageable situation to look out for their neighbours.

Topics:  dairy dairy farmer flood oswald

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