A Dairy Australia spokeswoman said they estimated there were more than 100 farmers affected by the floods,70 of them severely.
“The Dairy Australia team are currently connecting with farmers to determine impacts and services required,” she said.
“Full estimates on total numbers of stock lost and farm damages are not yet available.
“However, they are expected to be severe.
“In addition to stock losses and damage to farm infrastructure, paddocks and fencing, farmers are also dealing with shortages of stock feed and fuel, phone and internet service outages and animal health issues such as lameness and mastitis.”
In NSW, a hotline set up to assist flood-affected farmers and land managers has received more than 800 calls from farmers requesting emergency fodder, aerial surveillance, and veterinary assistance for flood-affected livestock in less than a week.
More than 1,350 tonnes of fodder have been supplied and another 500,000 tonnes allocated to livestock owners who have requested assistance, with aerial fodder drops underway.
Significant dumping of milk has occurred where producers have been able to get back to milking but access for tankers is limited.
Dairy Australia is working with other industry bodies, government and emergency response services to provide assistance to farmers in the affected areas.
Dairy NSW regional manager Paul van Wel said while the Dairy NSW region, which covers an area from south of Kempsey to the Southern Riverina, hadn’t sustained losses as bad as those on the NSW North Coast, there had still been considerable impacts.
“I was talking to a farmer around Taree who has really low-lying country, probably about half the farm has had a significant amount of water over it for over ten days so that means the pasture will be dead, they are feeding out silage that they are not normally feeding out until April,” he said.
“For farmers within the Dairy NSW region, the main costs being incurred are things like crop and pasture loss but we’re not hearing the reports of significant stock losses and fences wiped out like there have been in other areas.
Mr van Wel said there were ongoing challenges around managing calving and dealing with issues like sore feet and mastitis.
“Obviously you don’t want cows grazing in pastures that are as water-logged as this as it will cause significant pugging,” he said.
“There’s a lot of feeding going on.
“We’re also really conscious that people on the Mid North Coast went through severe flooding a year ago and that those people need to be aware of the impact the wet weather conditions are having on themselves, whether it’s causing further stress and bringing up the memories of some of those past impacts.”
EastAUSmilk vice president and Gloucester-based dairy farmer Graham Forbes said the losses were still rising.
“The rains are coming back in and coming into other areas and starting to be fairly major into our area now… in the Manning and Hunter regions we missed having major catastrophes but we’re getting closer and closer to that sort of thing,” he said.
“I know of probably about 15 farms that were impacted in that Northern Rivers area catastrophically… it’s amazing that some of these people are still continuing on.
“Some of these people have had upwards of two metres of rain in 10 days.
“We’re hoping the government will come in and give some fairly large support packages to those people that have been really totally destroyed by this.
“We’re seeing very high inflationary pressures at the moment, we’ve seen fertiliser, fuel, wages, machinery and now we’re seeing grains inflating at a very quick rate because of the Ukraine war.
“The best community support we can have is the price of milk has to go up.”