Recent rain in the Goondiwindi region may not be enough to produce a body of feed for cattle, but for the Cook family at Kindon, Goondiwindi, the 30 millimetres that fell across their property last weekend has meant they were able to get in a significant late-plant wheat crop.
Noel and Liz Cook, along with their sons Kieran and Brodie, had originally planted 800 hectares of wheat about a month ago, but the dry conditions meant they weren’t able to continue planting.
Mr Cook said varying falls of between 18mm and 30mm across their 48,500ha property meant they were able to plant an additional 3850ha where the rain had fallen.
“We planted 800ha here early on, but that was all we had in,” Mr Cook said.
“We had no oats in, and it was just so dry that we couldn’t do anything.
“We’ve got another 3600ha that should be planted, but we won’t get that in; it’ll go to sorghum instead.”
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Significant rain at their two other properties, Kilburnie at Moonie and Bushy in the Westmar district, back in March meant the Cooks were able to do a full plant on both properties with a total of 7500ha going in.
Kindon normally runs between 4000 and 4500 head of cattle, but Mr Cook said with the dry conditions there was only about 800 head left on the place and they would be moved in the coming weeks.
“This is the only time since we bought Kindon 14 years ago that we've ever destocked,” he said. “We've never had one like this one.
“The last decent rain we got was in October, when we had over an inch. It's just bloody dry.”
A great body of feed at Bushy, plus an oats crop and sorghum stubble at Kilburnie has been a saving grace for the Cooks.
“We had 4000ha of sorghum in and normally it would be all sprayed out and everything would be dead, but we harvested without spraying it out purely because we wanted the cattle feed,” Mr Cook said.
“Otherwise what do we do with the cattle?
“We'll get some old cow now onto oats at Kilburnie and sell them, but we were looking for a while there having to put them in the feedlot and fatten them.”