THE GRASS WAS GREENER: Ben Jorgensen at last year's Mount Perry campdraft.
THE GRASS WAS GREENER: Ben Jorgensen at last year's Mount Perry campdraft. Felicity Ripper

Extreme weather conditions threaten Australian bush sport

AUSTRALIAN Campdraft Association president Hugh Philp has been involved with campdrafting for 25 years, and this is the worst year he has seen for the sport.

Dry conditions and floods across Queensland and New South Wales have deteriorated the health of cattle.

And farmers aren't in a position to donate the use of their cattle for a weekend of campdrafting.

"We've seen big losses in these conditions," Mr Philp said.

"Animal welfare is a high priority to the ACA and cattle just aren't in a condition for us to be bringing them to a campdraft.

"The feeling I'm getting if these dry conditions stay is that 50 per cent of our campdrafts will be cancelled this year."

Beaudesert Show Society announced on social media that they had postponed their campdraft due to "not wanting to run cattle that have a shortage of feed".

 

Campdraft associations across Australia break the news that their events won't be going ahead.
Campdraft associations across Australia break the news that their events won't be going ahead.

The ACA has hundreds of campdrafts listed on their 2019 calendar.

Red "Draft is Cancelled" notes and grey "Draft is Postponed" plague the calendar, a grim insight into the dry 2019 circuit.

"It's really disappointing because campdrafts are a great community event that bring people together," Mr Philp said.

"Normally we get a reasonable wet season but I'd say the majority of these towns have had well below the average rainfall.

"Combine that with the northern floods where half a million cattle were lost, we've seen huge losses."

 

A screenshot of the Australian Campdrafting Association's 2019 calendar shows several cancelled and postponed events.
A screenshot of the Australian Campdrafting Association's 2019 calendar shows several cancelled and postponed events.

Yet to be updated on the ACA website, a call was made on Friday to cancel the Mulgildie Campdraft in the North Burnett.

The committee said they were disappointed in the decision to cancel but, due to the dry conditions, had no choice.

In the South Burnett, the Proston Campdraft is going ahead with a reduced program.

The program will include a charity draft with proceeds doing towards Sisters of the North, a charity which gives vouchers to flood-affected graziers.

President of the Kumbia and District Charity Campdraft Association Malcolm Ryan said a meeting would be held on Wednesday night to gauge number of cattle that would be available for its South Burnett event.

"If we don't get rain in the next three weeks, it's likely we won't go ahead with the campdraft," he said.


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