Landmark Rockhampton branch manager David McKechnie reported that Cyclone Debbie broke some longstanding rainfall and river records especially in the Marlborough, Clark Creek and St Lawrence districts north of Rockhampton on Wednesday and Thursday, March 28 and 29. There have been reports of 1000 to 1100mm of rain falling over a 24-hour period on some of the properties located in these districts.
To the north of Marlborough along Montrose and Plumtree creeks there are reports of massive trees that were washed away in the huge flows of water that came raging out of the hills and range country. There are many creeks and waterways that have now been changed forever by this event.
The small community at Clark Creek and the surrounding properties were inundated by fast rising flood water that caused unbelievable damage to roads, bridges, buildings, fencing and yards. The volume and the speed at which the water came, has never been realised before in that area.
This enormous rainfall event then forced creeks and rivers to rise very quickly and inundate large expanses of country with very fast flowing water entering the Connors, Mackenzie and Fitzroy rivers. At one stage the Mackenzie River was reportedly 20km wide between the properties of Coreen and Tartrus Stations. Many who have lived in these locations all their lives have never witnessed such an extreme weather event like it before.
The damage to infrastructure has been enormous. Many hundreds of kilometres of fencing destroyed and big numbers of livestock unaccounted for. As the flooding progressed down the enormous river system, it has taken with it many cereal and pulse crops. This could equate to millions of dollars in income lost by growers in the Duaringa area.
The rains are now providing moisture for grass growth which a lot of areas were desperate for. Moisture profiles for winter cropping will allow broadacre planting of winter cereal and pulse crops in our regions cropping areas, providing much needed income. Friday April 21 will see Gracemere sales resume, after a five weeks with no sales due to wet weather.
Stock retention influences MLA’s sheep projections
Meat and Livestock Australia’s (MLA) Australian Sheep Industry Projections April 2017 Update is influenced by strong producer intent to retain ewes for flock rebuilding, and retaining Merino wethers for wool production. The result is an even greater year-on-year decline in lamb slaughter and production than what was originally forecast for 2017, and a significant contraction in mutton slaughter.
The combined result is 2.7 million fewer sheep and lambs processed in 2017 which, when combined with high wool prices, suggests that Australian sheep and lamb markets are set to be the strongest ever – even with the poor April to June rainfall outlook.