Not only did Kerang dairy farmer Teresa Embrey see off her favourite cows to Lake Boga – it was a signal her livelihood would pause for an uncertain period of time.
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A nervous wait for dairy farmers
Teresa Embrey was emotional as she farewelled 150 dairy cows bound for higher ground in Lake Boga.

All but one of her cows was transported north on Tuesday morning ahead of the Loddon River peaking at major flood levels in the next 48 hours.

She and husband Bruce live on the Murray Valley Highway, 3km north of Kerang.

“Feeling full of mixed emotions as due to floods, our cows have to be moved (to higher ground),” she wrote on Facebook.

“Lot of favourite cows on those trucks today. Nine-and-a-half years some cows have been here with Bruce … 10 years of milking in January with this dairy in January.

“Can’t help feel the way we do.”

Ms Embrey spoke from her home, which will be spared from inundation, according to a neighbour who once occupied the highway-frontage property.

“It’s better to be safe than sorry … they are the bread and butter of our lifestyle,” she said.

“We are a surplus dairy farm for Bethune Lane Dairy in Boga.

“The cows are going to be safe at the end of the day.”

Ms Embrey said dairy trucks would be able to access dairy farms in Lake Boga, with access to the west of Kerang.

“We are hoping they can get the last bit of milking from here this morning,” she said.

The Embreys were farming in Macorna during the 2011 flood event, but those memories remained.

“We had to get the cows out from the paddocks back then, and move them 10km through floodwater. That was a rough time.”

They have also experienced floods in Queensland.

“From what I can gather when speaking to people, our house should be OK, but we have sandbagged if needed.

“It’s just a waiting game now.”

She said the household had enough food supplies for last the two-week isolation warning.

“I was clever enough to do a shop online last week just in case and my daughters have been down to Woolworths to grab a few extra things,” Ms Embrey said.

“We are so grateful to live in Kerang with this amazing community.

“What Kerang does to support each other – the local SES, fire brigade – in 2011 and now.

“We get plenty of warning and help. Other places have had it much worse, with floodwater roaring down without any warning.

“Look at Rochester with their town 85 per cent inundated and Bridgewater was wiped almost out.

“If I have to live on a little island here, I will be OK.

“The neighbour who used to live here said, ‘Your house will be fine’.

“But no two floods are the same.”

Dairy farmers still reeling from floods have been given a helping hand, with the state and federal governments locking in funding for key projects to prepare for the next disaster.

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