Retired dairyfarmer Glen Shearer has lived through his fair share of natural disasters.
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Retired dairyfarmer Glen Shearer has lived through his fair share of natural disasters, so come Thursday morning he was ready to help his daughter, Ann Shearer and her partner Ian Kermode undertake the daunting task of milking their herd, not in the dairy, but in temporary set-up on the family’s farm at Lower Belford near Singleton.

The herd and farm equipment had been moved to higher ground before the inundation from the latest Hunter River flooding, which cut off access to the section of the property that houses most of the farm’s infrastructure, in particular their dairy.

For the Shearer family, flooding is always a stressful time due to access issues, but their cows had to be milked, which was their number one priority on Thursday.

“That’s what we have to worry about now getting these cows milked,” Anne Shearer said.

“We have mobile milking machines but it is going to take sometime to get that job done.”

According to her father, who has been a volunteer with the Lower Belford Rural Fire Service for more than 50 years, Thursday was going to be yet another challenge in the life of a dairyfarmer, but one they would have to get through together.

Mr Shearer described the latest flooding as similar to that of 2007 with the floodwaters still cutting off access to the farm on Friday.

Lower Belford recorded 300mm of rain during this event resulting in major flooding with the Hunter River reaching 13.7 metres in Singleton – a level just below the one recorded in the June 2007 flood.

For the Shearer family, flooding is always a stressful time due to access issues, but their cows had to be milked, which was their number one priority on Thursday.

“That’s what we have to worry about now getting these cows milked,” Anne Shearer said.

“We have mobile milking machines but it is going to take sometime to get that job done.”

According to her father, who has been a volunteer with the Lower Belford Rural Fire Service for more than 50 years, Thursday was going to be yet another challenge in the life of a dairyfarmer, but one they would have to get through together.

Mr Shearer described the latest flooding as similar to that of 2007 with the floodwaters still cutting off access to the farm on Friday.

Lower Belford recorded 300mm of rain during this event resulting in major flooding with the Hunter River reaching 13.7 metres in Singleton – a level just below the one recorded in the June 2007 flood.

. emergency fodder or water supplies

. livestock assessment

. euthanasia and burial.

Incident Controller Ken Garner is asking producers not to delay their requests for assistance.

“More than 120 producers from across the Hunter and Greater Sydney regions have already called us this week, seeking feed for stranded livestock or veterinary inspections of impacted animals, and our team is here to help,” said Mr Garner.

“The AASFA hotline is open 9am-5pm this weekend. If you call outside of these times, please leave a message so our teams can respond as soon as possible.”

A number of Animal Safe Places remain open for livestock unable to return to inundated farms.

These include:

. Singleton Saleyards

. Maitland Showground

. Maitland Saleyards

“It has been good to see so many proactive livestock owners taking steps to evacuate their stock early, and making provisions to see them cared for either on agistment or in one of the evacuation facilities,” said Mr Garner.

“These centres will remain open for evacuated animals until it is safe for them to return or alternate agistment has been found.”

There are many potential issues for producers to consider in the aftermath of major flooding.

In the short term, there is the immediate work involved in repairing infrastructure such as fence-lines and laneways and ensuring that immediate animal welfare responsibilities such as provision of adequate food, water and shelter are met.

“There have been widespread pasture losses across the region, which will further hamper local producers’ ability to manage livestock nutritional needs for the remainder of winter,” said Mr Garner.

“A very important consideration is the increased potential for certain livestock diseases. Our teams can provide advice for producers for ongoing management of their livestock health and welfare.”

Did you know that some chewing gums contain dairy products?

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