Just under three hours drive away the land is continuing to dry out fast. What was once known as the Timmbarra – the river that never stops flowing – has been reduced to puddles of slime, surrounded by burnt grass.
Timmbarra is the Indigenous name for Rocky River in Tenterfield where local graziers Zoe and Eddie Lederhose say they and their neighbours have never seen anything as dry as the current state of the land.
‘We’ve been here for ten years and never seen it so dry,’ they said.
‘Even our neighbour who inherited the farm from his family said he’s never seen it so dry in his lifetime.’
No summer rain
The wholistic farming practices they use have kept their farm going since they bought the property, but they are now struggling to keep their cattle going without the usual summer rains.
‘We haven’t had any decent rain since November,’ said Eddie.
Zoe agreed saying that people throughout the area are suffering.
‘We are asking for people on the coast who might be able to take some cattle from the properties in the Rocky River area to contact us,’ she said.
‘We know that the drought has had a disastrous effect west of the range, however, on the Easton fall country around Tenterfield the effects of the big dry and relentless heat are taking their toll.’
Out of grass
Zoe and Eddie are coordinating a call out on behalf of themselves and their neighbours to people on the coast who might have some land that they could agist their cattle on.
‘We are out of grass and very low on water and if we don’t find some temporary paddocks to get them through the winter we will lose it all,’ she said.
‘One of our neighbours who recently sold some cattle had to accept prices as low as $12 for a steer. It cost them $40 to transport it from the farm to the sale. So it ended up costing them $28 to sell the steer and make sure it didn’t die a painful death of thirst and starvation,’ she said.
Plea for help
‘We are not prepared to see our beautiful breeders go for nothing to the abattoir and are appealing for any assistance for short- or long-term agistment for our lovely quiet mumma cows.’
In fact they have said they are prepared to help with repair fencing and can also supply portable fencing.
‘It’s all possible,’ she said.
‘Mobile steel yards are transportable, can be moved from paddock to paddock, making small blocks usable.
‘We are hoping that people who have never thought of utilising the grass in their fields will take up the chance to help keep the grass under control, clean up their paddocks and get paid for it at the same time,’ said Zoe hopefully.
If you think you have some space that could accommodate cattle for the winter give Zoe and Eddie a call on 0428 030 889 or 6737 6829 and find out how you can help some struggling farmers being severely impacted by the current drought.