Following the severe flooding in Moree earlier this month we received a huge number of telephone calls and emails from friends asking how we were coping with the bigwet. Although early February’s flood was substantial, it was not as big as the one we experienced in December 2011. For those of you following my blog you may recall that I was actually caught at the main homestead by myself for about 12 days. We ended up with about 18,000 acres under water. So how wet did it get this time around? Wet enough! When the Whalan Creek finally peaked in early February, we had about 15,000 acres submerged. As I write this we still have around 5,000 acres under water. Inaccessible blocks include some eastern and southern country and our western country – pictured at left. This cultivation has had water on it since November, with a dry spell in early January of this year allowing us to aerial spray the weeds which quickly sprang up. Apart from the soil erosion from the flooding if we can get to it to plant a winter crop – probably wheat, the subsoil moisture will be fantastic.
On the livestock front we are fortunate in that most of our paddocks have either dam banks, natural or man-made ridges which provide a place for animals to seek refuge during a wet time. We moved our sheep in November when the weather forecast looked a little dodgy. So they have been high and dry in paddocks close to the main homestead. While sheep can float for a limited length of time, they are not good swimmers and even with partial wool growth they can quickly become weighted down.
Cattle in comparison are happy to wade out into water to feed. If the grass is above floodwater levels. As long as they have a dry camp they can return to they are very resiliant animals. No helicopter fodder drops were required. Although we have a hayshed full for such emergencies. So now we’re on a week by week program, whereby we wait and see what areas are dry enough to move stock in and out of. And cattle branding continues where possible.
After all the drama, the country looks a picture and the waterholes are brimming. And the birdlife? The birds cover the sky like stars as they chase the myriad of insects buzzing through waist high grasses.