But that didn’t stop Mother Nature from unleashing a flood larger than the 1974 levels.
“We are used to floods but this was next level, it was metres higher than the biggest flood we’ve ever experienced,” Mr Chappell said.
“We built everything higher than the 1974 flood, the biggest flood on record and even that didn’t help.”
As rising floodwaters headed towards their dairy farm at Ruthven near Coraki they shifted their dairy herd to the feed pad – it’s what they do every flood.
“We prepared for any normal floods that we usually have,” Mr Chappell said.
‘We put the cattle on the feed pad next to the dairy like we did in 2017 when the big flood came right up.”
Then the water kept coming.
Before it got to that point, they moved the 450 head herd to the dairy, which was the next highest point.
“We knew so much water was coming so we moved well before it reached the 2017 level,” he said.
It didn’t stop there.
So they shifted half their herd into the hay shed that was built higher than the 1974 flood level.
Once they knew their animals were safe, they moved machinery to higher ground before relocating their household belongings.
By that stage the water was 1.5 metres higher than they had ever experienced.
So the couple had to climb onto the roof of their dairy. They sat there for two hours while they waited to be rescued.
“It was heartbreaking just knowing the amount of water that was coming, we were hit by Lismore and Kyogle it was so high,” Mr Chappell said.
“We are situated on the Richmond River but the Wilson is only 2km away and it overflowed and joined up with the Richmond on our place.”
They went back Tuesday afternoon to assess the situation. But the only way into their property was by boat.
He said it would take a long time to recover from an event like this.
“The biggest worry is being able to milk, we need to get the machinery running so we can milk,” he said.
“The longer they are not able to be milk the worse the mastitis, it can still carry on for months.”
He said the pasture would be covered in mud and they would look to plant rye when they could.