Friday, 11 October 2013


First of all this is not The Station, obviously by the lack of red cows and plentiful amounts of black and white cows it is The Dairy Farm and the photos are from last weekend. I wanted to give an update on what is happening out there in 'the middle of nowhere'.

First of all The Station, like a huge part of QLD, is in the grips of drought. They are lucky enough to be in a position through years, make that generations, of hard work to be able to look for and lease or buy another property so that they can still fatten their weaners (calves that are old enough to not need mum) and sell them. For want of a better phrase, like other station owners, they are up that proverbial creek but are lucky enough to still have a paddle unlike so many others who are just having to go with the flow (that is if there was any flow, more like bogged in the dust).

Anyway, at this point in time or for the last few months I would say, they have been trying to sell off anything they can which wouldn't be that easy with market at the moment. It must be hard seeing something that you have worked so hard to build up being sold a piece at a time. From previous conversations in prior years and how they have dealt with past droughts I know that they will keep selling all but the best of the herd, their breeders or their stud unless rain comes. The other important part of the herd they are trying to keep are the weaners, the next generation, as they are their income. If all goes to plan most of them will be moved to their new property. Their cattle are dying from lack of water and possibly feed so selling them or shooting them are the only options.

The family are doing water runs. This means they are carting water to the cattle because there is none in the dams or creeks. They have a couple of bores and these are their main water source now. The family have nearly run out of water for the house and indubitably for drinking as well and within the next few weeks will be carting the water for the houses. 

So many others throughout QLD and Australia are doing it tough right now, really tough. I can't say I have any experience with what they are going through really because when I arrived on The Station it was the near the end of a drought. I remember how dry it was, how little water there was, and how many plumes of smoke I saw going up in the distance. It was actually this exact time of year. While I was there The Station was in the process of building their herd back up again and the good years of rain did so much. Rain is not expected until the end of Dec or even January and who knows if it will come or be enough. I hope it does, I pray it does. There hasn't been any decent amount of rain since about March last year. Below is what The Station looked like at the end of 2009 ... it looked a bit like this when I left at the end of 2012, I don't know what it is looking like now.

I'll leave you with a pretty cow picture set among greener pastures. I hope this didn't bring your day down, it is how it is living on the land.

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  1. they can't run poly pipe? we've done that, and really need to do some more.... lucky that they've found both buyer and grass.

  2. They ran poly pipe the end of last year from some dams to other paddocks but now they have dried up. The bores are at one end of the station so not sure it would work anymore. Not sure how feed is around the bores.

  3. Very good post. I think it is easy for people to forget what it is really like when things go badly (as they so often do) in all forms of agriculture.

    We have had our share of dry years in WA. Fortunately this year is not one of them in our region. Although you don't have to drive too far east for it to get pretty ugly....

  4. can't survive without feed and water..........bring on the rain.........running on empty is no fun.............

  5. Thank you A Farmer's Wife, It is easy to forget how bad it can get and many don't realise how little support there can be for the people who supply our food and other products. I know here they have a campaign going where you can buy a bale of hay for a farmer but you really only know if you have contacts in the rural industries. There are also other groups who volunteer time and energy to life spirits. It is good that you are having a good season.

  6. Hi Chookyblue, Yep bring on the rain. It is needed by many.

  7. While we complain about the dry spell we're currently enduring (very typical of this time of year as we await our first storms), my heart goes out to all those in the north and west who didn't receive any wet season last year. Can only imagine the depths of despair as they wait for rain. Here's hoping for an early break.


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