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Pray for rain: Creeks dry up in worse season than last year

It's not just cane farmers battling the dry spell, a cattle producer is concerned they'll run out of feed by Christmas.
It's not just cane farmers battling the dry spell, a cattle producer is concerned they'll run out of feed by Christmas. Emily Smith

IT'S not just cane farmers battling the dry spell, a cattle producer is concerned they'll run out of feed by Christmas.

With no rain in September and very little since Cyclone Debbie six months ago, cattle farmer Kaylene Hale is praying for rain.

"The creeks are drying up, conditions are looking worse than last year," Mrs Hale said.

"We haven't had any decent rain since Cyclone Debbie and have been forced to reduce stock by 50%," she said.

Mrs Hale, who has a cattle property at Yerra, west of Maryborough, said they had planned early for a dry season, stocking up on feed which she hopes will get them through to Christmas.

"You can't buy feed at the moment, nothing is growing," she said.

"We're hoping with less cattle we'll manage to get through the season."

The farmers used to have 100 head of cattle but had to sell 50%. 

Mrs Hale said they had two concrete tanks for their water supply which were also running low.

"You can't do anything but pray for rain but the forecast doesn't look hopeful," she said.

"We haven't had a good season in quite a while, it's too long to remember when."

If we don't get at least 1.2mm of rain in September Hervey Bay will break a record for the driest September since 2000.

The theme of this year's sugar crush is quality over quantity, with crops greatly affected by the drought at the start of the year, but sugar content still remaining high.

Canegrowers Maryborough manager Cameron Waterson said the crush was still estimated to reach just 600,000 tonnes at the Maryborough mill this season, but the positive side was that there was higher than expected sugar content, which is currently about 14%.

Topics:  drought fraser coast



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