South West Queensland grazier Ron Sevil, Kenilworth, Mitchell, is fine tuning his strategies to deal with the looming threat of drought. - Picture: PENELOPE ARTHUR.
THE new bone-dry levee surrounding the Kenilworth homestead, 130km south of Mitchell, says much about the natural disasters that have plagued the 34,000ha property in recent years.
Ron and Therese Sevil built the levee after Wallem Creek broke its banks and flooded their home twice in 2010 and rose to the floorboards in 2012.
Those wet years now seem a distant memory to the Sevils, who have spent the past few months battling bushfires and strategising against the looming threat of drought.
Kenilworth has received just 220mm in the past 12 months, with almost no rain through summer.
Many of its 18 dams are completely dry, and the Sevils look likely to endure winter with just two watering points for 1000 cows and 3000 Merino sheep.
Calves have been weaned early and all stock left on Kenilworth are living on low mulga and dry lick.
“We’ve had no summer rain to speak of and the hot weather just sucked the dams dry,” Mr Sevil said.
“We have one shared bore and we’re going to have to run about 5km of poly from that to fill a dam that went dry last week. We should be able to get through with that, although they’ll have a long walk to the mulga.
“We had to cart water for shearing a couple of weeks ago and will probably start carting water for the house and yards, where the weaners are, next week.”
Bushfires have also been a major concern for Mr Sevil who, together with other members of the Abbieglassie Rural Fire Brigade, attended 25 fires in November and December.
“We lost 9000 acres and another 7000 acres in a couple of fires, but it did not have a huge impact because we’d already run out of water down there,” he said.
“The biggest impact was that I was constantly away fighting fires and none of our normal management work got done.”