DROUGHT: Ian Lovegrove on his Gracemere property experiencing the worst drought in 41 years.
DROUGHT: Ian Lovegrove on his Gracemere property experiencing the worst drought in 41 years.

The sad reality Queensland’s cattle industry is facing

CATTLE owners with nowhere left to turn is a reality Ian Lovegrove faces regularly on his travels across north Queensland in his role at the Australian Livestock Markets Association.

As northern and western field manager he sees the effect drought is having on the cattle industry at every saleyard he visits.

The Gracemere man describes the impact in one word "enormous" and said cattle farmers were selling up and leaving the industry.

"When we do get the rain it'll take months (for farmers) to recover," he said.

"But it'll take years for the cattle industry to recover."

Cattle farmers were selling significant numbers, if not all their cattle because their was no grass to feed them with.

Mr Lovegrove said farming families were abandoning the industry after generations of production because they had no other choice, with fewer beef exports the result.

On his travels he sees dire situations with depression plaguing the industry.

"Unless the livestock is sold onto greener pastures they will die," he said.

"People have no money and the bank won't loan them anymore.

"When farmers sit at home brooding (over conditions) that's when things go bad."

He said talking about how they're feeling was important for farmers struggling and that saleyards were a great place to meet other people in similar circumstances who aren't afraid to talk.

Conditions now are the worst he has ever seen - even on his own property in Gracemere.

The 80-acre property was once home to about 20-head of cattle and now can only sustain a couple heifer and horses, Mr Lovegrove said.

A spring-fed creek is almost dry and the water holes have never been so low.

But while conditions seem grim, his experience keeps him optimistic for the cattle industry.

"It's a very resilient industry," he said.

"I've seen them get knocked down before and they will get back up."

The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts sunny conditions for Rockhampton for the next week.

Forecasts show a zero per cent chance of rain until Thursday, September 19, where a five per cent chance of rain is predicted.