Here’s what we do know.
The majority of our sheep losses were in our good, young one- and two-year old ewes, around 1000 head in total.
Although we lost a few calves, overall the cattle came through well.
But the toughest challenge, the one we’re still grappling with, is that we’ve lost around 90% of grazing country is burnt out and all our fences are damaged in some way.
Without fences we don’t have a farm and without feed we have no chance of sustaining our surviving stock, now and through winter.
What we don’t know is the full extent of the loss and damage.
It’s only been a few days since we were taken off fire alert status.
We’ve lived on high alert for three weeks and it’s hard to come down, to take a breath, to step back and view the big picture.
Our days have been filled with survival tasks, such as:
- protecting what remains of the property
- finding sheep and cattle, destroying those that are suffering
- securing fences on vital holding paddocks
- containing and feeding cattle
- mothering cows and calves for agistment transport
- repairing critical infrastructure such as water supplies
- caring for remaining stock, including sourcing feed and giving medicine
- communicating with fire fighting services
- keeping track of each other as we shoot off to put out a spot fire, or check a dam, or find lost stock
- remembering to eat and sleep occasionally
There are many areas of the property we can’t go into due to half-burnt trees just waiting to topple and roots still smouldering underground. So, we don’t know the full extent of the damage and we can’t do an exact count of our livestock.
We don’t have secure boundaries and the sheep and cattle we can’t yet reach are wandering.
29 January 2013