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Cyclone could be blessing or curse for farmers

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Cyclone won't save cattle farmers

Bob Katter urges the state government to grant permits to drought stricken Queensland cattle farmers to access underground water with up to 10,000 cattle "dying every day".

PT0M0S 620 349

All eyes in the north are on the sky.

But drought-stricken north Queensland farmers are divided over potential Cyclone Dylan looming off the coast.

A low pressure system is northeast of Townsville and is tracking towards the coast at 11km/h.

A cyclone could bring mixed fortunes for drought-stricken farmers.

A cyclone could bring mixed fortunes for drought-stricken farmers. Photo: Jessica Shapiro

It is still not clear if the system will develop into a cyclone.

Farmer Jean Robins, 34, of Killarney Station hopes the slow-moving tropical low will remain just that.

‘‘We desperately need the rain, but we don’t need six inches [152 millimetres] in one hit,’’ she said.

‘‘For people who have got cattle left that would probably kill the remaining stock. We’re on heavy black soil and when it gets wet it gets extremely boggy.

‘‘The stock that are left are very, very weak. If we got that sort of rain, they would just bog ... they just wouldn’t have the energy to walk in the mud.’’

Queensland’s drought has now spread across 69 per cent of the state, with Bulloo Shire in the south-west corner added to the growing list of regions officially drought declared.

‘‘It’s pretty ordinary. There are a lot of people who are in a lot of trouble. It’s very, very dry,’’ Ms Robins said.

‘‘There’s a lot of people walking cattle along the main road to try to utilise the grass that’s left along the main road.

‘‘It is very, very important that we do get some rain soon, otherwise I don’t know what’s going to happen to people in the next 12 months.’’

Ms Robins is hoping for some ‘‘good, steady, soaking rain’’.

‘‘Preferably between three and four inches [about 100 millimetres] over two to three days,’’ she said.

‘‘But that’s just for us.’’

Killarney Station, owned by Ms Robin’s father, is located near Hughenden, about 385 kilometres south-west of Townsville.

Further north and west, farmers including Rob Atkinson, owner of Katandra Station between Mount Isa and Townsville, are hoping for somewhat heavier falls.

‘‘There’ll be a bit of suffering with the good rain ... but this drought has got to break,’’ Mr Atkinson told 612 ABC Brisbane.

‘‘If there was widespread 100mm over the central west, north west and the north it’d fill dams, run gullies, fill billabongs, it’d get grass growing [and] we’d get some sub-soil moisture. You wouldn’t know the place.’’

Ms Robins conceded other farmers needed heavy rain to fill dams and bores, but said Cyclone Yasi, which hit the region nearly three years ago, delivered little rain to the farming country.

‘‘We got very little rain out of Yasi at all,’’ she said.

‘‘Every cyclone is different. We’ll have to wait and see what this one decides to do.’’

1 comment so far

  • The wholesale price of Cavendish bananas has already spiked $8 a carton inexplicably...

    Commenter
    Albinus
    Date and time
    January 29, 2014, 7:36PM

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