Mother Nature has shown her 'other' side to our area over the past couple of years.
* Note that Cobbold Gorge itself is spring fed, so water levels do not change. Tours continue as per normal.
In 2012 widespread bushfires claimed 50% of Howlong's beef cattle grazing country. This equates to approximately 16,000 hectares. As rotational grazing is common practice, this did not largely affect the 4,600 strong brahman herd which included adjistment cattle.
The 2012/2013 wet season was a dismal one with only 15 inches of rainfall recorded. This is under half the average annual rainfall. A couple of dams became extremely low, but due to improvements to water infrastructure over previous years, cattle that normally watered on these dams were watering from bores that supplied water to storage tanks and gravity fed to troughs.
2013/2014's wet season was just as ordinary, with only 16 inches of rainfall reached. The largest fall recorded in one downpour was 31mls, not even creating enough run off water to fill a bathtub!
So, after bushfires and 2 years without a decent wet season, the herd has had to be reduced by 50% from 4,600 to 2,300. There simply is not enough water or grass to sustain them all until the next wet.
We are hoping the 2014/2015 wet season will bring us a decent amount of rainfall, but even if it does, it will still take a number of years and decent follow up wets for the land to recover.