‘Freak’ shower gives graziers a drop of hope in drought
DARREN and Jennifer Pointon have been spending an eye-watering $1800 a week to keep the last of their herd alive this year during a drought that feels like it will never end.
But the Kinbombi graziers are optimistic for the future and say they've shouldered worse conditions in the past, and this battle is just "part and parcel of life on the land".
The Pointon's property 16km from Goomeri received a refreshing 11mm on Christmas Eve and another wonderful 27mm on Christmas Day, transforming their barren dam into a brown summer oasis once more.
Mr Pointon said the "freak" storm was welcomed, but much more rainfall was going to be needed before they were out of the woods.
"The 38mm we received over Christmas was a wonderful little reprieve for us and has helped put water in the dam and we're seeing some green pick shoot up, but it's only brought our rainfall for the year up to 11 inches," he said.
"We would normally receive somewhere between 28-30 in a calendar year, so it's been a bloody dry old year, but we have survived worse.
"We were one of the lucky few to get some decent rain, but there are people out there doing it much worse and then there's also people out there who are much better off - that's just the luck of the land."
Mr Pointon, 49, said he could remember the drought of 1977, when he was just seven years of age.
"I can remember clipping tails with my grandfather back then - the government were giving farmers $10 per tail due to the severity of the drought, everyone's herd were dropping like flies," he said.
"It was pretty heartbreaking. I can remember it was a very hard time for graziers everywhere, keeping in mind we'd only had the 1974 floods just three years prior."
The fifth-generation grazier said his family had survived worse conditions, not only droughts but floods as well.
"We're big believers in the seven to 10-year turn around," he said.
"This drought is nothing new to us - we have experienced worse and we will be around to see worse again, just hopefully not anywhere in the near future."
The part-time wild dog trapper was adamant graziers still had a large role to play in the Australian economy and would need to be around for a long time yet.
"There's still got to be graziers and producers, otherwise what are Australian's going to eat?" he questioned.
"Good seasons and bad seasons all help contribute to the local economy and we can see that out here where we are.
"If there's no money rolling in, people go into salvage mode, local businesses start to feel the pinch and towns start to decline, but then the good seasons come back around again.
"It's all part of the cycle of farming.
"We're just hopeful the new year brings in more rain and we have an easier year than we've been through this year."