EVERY morning for the last month, young beef producer Scott McClymont has brought 800 head of cattle out to graze along the road in north-west Queensland.
The 10 kilometre strip along the Flinders Highway, west of Richmond, is relatively dry and bare, but survival food nonetheless.
“We bring them out about quarter to six and then usually about 10 or 11 they’re sort of thirsty, so we pick them all back up and take them to the paddock to have a drink and that’s it,” Mr McClymont explained.
“[We’re] pretty much just trying to hold it out until we get some rain or think of something else to do with them; try to keep them alive.”
Mr McClymont was at one of the big beef family’s properties west of Richmond for four years before moving to Rosella Plains Station, Mount Garnet, two years ago.
The cattle - ranging in age from six-month-old weaners to two-year-olds who “weren’t big enough to go on the boat” – were brought down from Rosella.
Mr McClymont will finish up grazing them at the end of the week before declaring them again, though he said there’s been little weight gain.
“For the first two weeks they kind of improved a little bit because the paddocks they came from were much worse,” he said.
“But as it’s gotten hotter and we’ve had to travel further distances, to sort of utilise this grass, now it’s sort of getting to the point where they’re going backwards.”
Though the region has been drought declared since 2013, Mr McClymont said they had been “pretty lucky” compared to most in the area.
“At Maxy [Maxwelton, west of Richmond], the total for the wet season there was seven inches [175 millimetres],” he said.
“It’s kind of hit and miss in this country if you don’t get it in the right spot with the right spacing it sort of doesn’t do anything.
“So we were lucky, we had three inches [75mm] within a week and that’s what got the grass going.”