Farmer pushes for change after 60 cows swept away in floods
Barambah Organics farmer Ian Campbell is calling for better flood warnings across the Southern Downs after one of his farms endured 60 cows being swept away during last week's floods.
The major dairy business resides on the Dumaresq River System, which peaked at 8.4m last Wednesday.
The experienced farmer said he was "caught out" by the rapidly rising waters, resulting in 60 cows being swept away.
The company embarked on a major search mission to find the missing cattle, even hiring choppers.
Mr Campbell said luckily he'd been able to account for 54 of the missing cattle, some of which were swept as far as 10km away.
"It's quite amazing how far they can go down a river 10m deep," he said.
"We pride ourselves on feeding cattle well so they were all big, strong healthy cows. Even the older ones, 10 year old cows, even they pulled themselves out of the river."
Floodwaters also ruined fences and cut off the farm for four days, though Mr Campbell acknowledged they "hadn't missed a beat" in production.
Still he said the lack of warning was a major concern.
"It was all quiet beforehand, there was no radio or commentary on the Dumaresq," he said
"A lot of people live on the river and the water comes down quite fast, it's quite dangerous.
"Our neighbours are in their 90s, they're not on the internet or anything like that and they had no idea it was on.
"At the moment it's up to individual farmers to ring to see what's happening and in this day and age, it would be good to haven SMS for major flood warnings so there's no guessing what's happening."
Despite that, Mr Campbell said the rain would be a massive benefit for those farmers who hadn't lost crops.
"Coolmunda Dam is full now so we should have two years of dam irrigation now," he said.
"We were nearly out of water again on one of our farms, so it's a great relief and I couldn't believe it when (Coolmunda Dam) went from 17 percent to 102 percent overnight.
"It's recharged the ground water for all our bores and Glenlyon Dam is full.
"Our farms look amazing."