A Sunshine Coast dairy farmer says he has been forced to send his prized milking cows to slaughter as hopes for drenching summer rain begin to evaporate.
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These dairy cattle are being sent to an abattoir today. (ABC News: Jennifer Nichols)

Key points:
Peter Rough says it is costing him an extra $1,300 a day to feed and water his herd
He has been told he can’t access water from nearby Baroon Pocket Dam
Queensland Dairyfarmers says it is possible milk could soon be in short supply
His property at Moy Pocket, west of Coolum, is desperately short of water.

This morning, Peter Rough herded 20 dairy cows onto a truck bound for an abattoir in Ipswich.
If there is no rain in coming weeks, another 20 will follow.
It is a decision Mr Rough said he wanted desperately to avoid, because he was able to irrigate just a couple of months ago when the nearby Mary River was still flowing.
The Mary ran dry on his property six weeks ago.
He said it now cost him an extra $1,300 a day above what he would normally spend to feed and water his livestock.
For every cow he is prepared to lose, he is able to cut his costs.
But they are also his only form of income, and fewer cows means less milk and less cashflow.
With the industry facing problems nationwide, the Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation (QDO) said a milk shortage could be looming.
Mr Rough is a passionate breeder of cows who has been in the industry for 27 years.
He can trace his dairy herd back three or four generations, and remembers mothers and grandmothers and what made them such great creatures.
“They’ve all got names, they’ve all got cow families,” he said.
“There was a Beth cow on the truck today — she placed second in our local on-farm challenge this year, and won the on-farm challenge last year.
“She’s a heck of a cow. We would never normally sell that cow. We’d let her run around again and get her in calf.”
Mr Rough said he was not overly emotional about having to send the cows away, but it meant his dairy operation’s future was uncertain.
He said his $700,000 business could become a small-scale hobby farm.
If other dairy farms in the area succumb to a similar fate, it would have a major economic impact on the rural community of Kenilworth.
“I’m not sure the local economy can sustain that,” Mr Rough said.
Milk supply ‘a big issue’
QDO vice-president and Sunshine Coast dairy farmer Matthew Trace said Mr Rough’s problems were being experienced across the industry.
He said other states faced similarly dire circumstances, which would lift the cost of production and possibly even leave fresh milk in short supply.
“We are reaching a point where weather is going to be a big issue,” Mr Trace said.
“They are really struggling. We love doing this. Dairy farmers love their cattle. They love producing good, clean products for people to eat — it’s a bit heartbreaking.”
Mr Rough said if farmers in his area were allowed to access water from Baroon Pocket Dam it could help them survive until rain falls, but they have been told that will not happen.
This Friday, he is sitting down with State Water Minister Anthony Lynham to ask again.
He said he was not hopeful, but he was desperate and did not want to send more cows to the abattoir.
“I’d much rather be milking them. This is far and wide the last resort, because the alternative is that they don’t get enough to eat and they fade away and they’re worth nothing,” Mr Rough said.
“That’s no good for anybody.”

Fat supplements are incorporated into dairy diets to provide energy and enable cows to maintain butterfat levels. Most of those used in the UK are

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