Australia

Qld farmers confronted by stock losses

Graziers in central and western Queensland are being confronted by devastating scenes as they begin to asses the damage to properties left by floods.

Grazier Nigel Simmons has been left heartbroken by the number of dead cattle he has found around his homestead in western Queensland.

He can barely think of what he may find when he takes stock of the devastation left behind by floodwaters at his property, situated about 100km south east of Julia Creek.

"My heart breaks from the number of deaths I have seen within walking distance of the house," Mr Simmons wrote on Facebook.

"It sickens me to think what I will find further afield when I can get around."

Graziers are finding entire herds have been swept away or wiped out by prolonged exposure to harsh elements.

Those who can are using helicopters to assess their losses, while others are getting around their properties in tinnies.

"There will be tears, there will be break downs, there will be so much pain," Mr Simmons wrote.

"But we will get up, we will carry on, we will come out the other side of this, and we will have an excellent grass season for the surviving livestock. Stay strong people."

Grazier Patrick Hick could not believe what he saw from the air when he flew from Longreach to his station at Julia Creek.

"I've seen mobs that I'd estimate up to 400 to 500 cattle, all dead, in one corner, just piled up on top of each other," he told AAP.

"They're cold, they're disorientated, and they just start walking until they hit a corner of a paddock and they just stack up."

Mr Hick had dropped his children at boarding school in Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, and was planning to offload livestock if it hadn't rained by the time he returned.

He is now expecting a loss of about 70 per cent of his 8000-head herd.

"We were ready for that, but instead of us offloading stock, which we would have been disappointed about, suddenly they're snatched from us. "

Grazier Clay Kennedy has been confronted by mobs that have drowned, been swept away or died from exposure.

"We have been in the air for the last three days, shifting cattle, shooting cattle, doing what we can, but they are dying," he said.

But despite his losses, Mr Kennedy says others are worse off.

"These people won't survive out here, some people have lost everything."

Another grazier, known only as Miriam, says she can see dead cattle in every direction from her Richmond home.

"We just couldn't save them. They get stuck to their knees and they give up. They just lay down and die."

Richmond Mayor John Wharton says up to 300,000 cattle have died in his area, as well as McKinlay shire, and parts of Flinders and Cloncurry shires.

At an average value of $1000 per animal, the estimated cattle losses mean a $300 million blow, he said.

"Cattle just couldn't move, the water just kept rising and rising and the water broke its banks," he said.

"They could not survive. It was just hell."

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