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'Green drought' hits Gympie region

LOOKING TO THE HEAVENS: Cattle producer Peter Gerrard said rain is the only real hope for anyone with cattle around here. “We need some of that moisture that used to come from the sky,” he said.
LOOKING TO THE HEAVENS: Cattle producer Peter Gerrard said rain is the only real hope for anyone with cattle around here. “We need some of that moisture that used to come from the sky,” he said. Greg Miller

"YOU'D be flat out finding a farm where they've got adequate feed, or even water," Widgee Crossing Rd farmer, Peter Gerrard said yesterday.

It's not just at his place where dry weather has started to approach crisis point.

But people are hanging on to their cattle in the hope they will get better prices.

"It's green but it's all eaten down and where the pasture has any bulk, there is no food value," he said, as he looked around a friend's property at East Deep Creek.

As a mobile butcher, Mr Gerrard gets the chance to observe conditions over a large part of the region.

"I can't believe how dry it is, even at places like Kandanga," he said.

Even the depressed cattle prices currently being experienced by anyone trying to sell off their herds are better than they might be.

"The only thing keeping prices this high are live exports and the lower Australian dollar," he said.

"Now that the weather's warm enough for pasture to grow, we need rain.

"And we don't just need a little bit either.

"There's none on the surface and there's none in the ground. It's going to take a lot to top it up.

"Meanwhile, we've been selling cattle, but so's everyone else and prices are down.

"They're talking about $4 a kilogram live weight but we'll be waiting a long time for that I reckon.

"There's places out west that are totally de-stocked - and you don't have to go too far out west either," Mr Gerrard said.

Topics:  drought farming gympie

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