ON SALE: Friesian heifers sold to $1900.
ON SALE: Friesian heifers sold to $1900. Contributed

Critical shortage of feed forces herd sale

THE water has receded from the devastating floods of the past two years but the damage is still evident.

Farms, as well as town businesses, have been destroyed and are well beyond the economic capacity of owners to restore and remain trading. Cochrane Livestock and Rural Services conducted one of the largest dairy heifer sales for many years at the Gympie Saleyards.

The vendors of the majority of about 500 head offered had a similar story to tell.

These are some of the best farms run by good farmers. It is a very serious state of affairs, when generations of breeding and future milking cows have to be sold off.

John Cochrane said that many Mary River dairies were devastated by the 2013 floods.

"Farmers had just about got things going again, after 2011," John Cochrane said.

"The 2013 floods dumped metres of sand and silt on highly productive river flats."

He said the perilous state of the local dairy industry, due to low milk prices, made it impossible for farmers to repair and restart.

"These are some of the best farms run by good farmers. It is a very serious state of affairs, when generations of breeding and future milking cows have to be sold off," Mr Cochrane said.

One property had hundreds of dozer hours trying to remove sand and silt from its flats.

After some areas were cleared and even planted, the first grazing saw five cows poisoned, due to the growing conditions. Lack of food for the milking herd, due to covered river flats meant, in one instance, heifers were being sold to give the milkers a bit of a chance, before being sold later in the year, he said.

Sale top price of $1950 was paid for a springing brown swiss heifer, with friesians selling for $1900, jerseys to $1200 and illawarras for $1250.

There was a 100% clearance, with buyers from the Darling Downs, Boonah, Chinchilla, Bundaberg, Lockrose, Maleny, Condamine, Murgon, Kingaroy and local areas.



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