Recovery under way for farmers hit by Cudlee Creek fire

Recovery under way for farmers hit by Cudlee Creek fire

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THE long road to recovery has started for livestock and property owners impacted by the Cudlee Creek fire, which roared through the Adelaide Hills in late December.

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THE long road to recovery has started for livestock and property owners impacted by the Cudlee Creek fire, which roared through the Adelaide Hills in late December.

Nearly 4000 livestock have been confirmed lost as a result of the fire, which burnt through 23,000 hectares.

At Carrsview Murray Grey stud near Mount Torrens, the Carr family are busy tending to injured calves and heifers who suffered burnt udders and feet.

The family suffered significant stock losses and damage to fencing, as well as losing all of their hay bales and silage.

Daughter Zoe, a veterinarian based in the UK, returned to the family property a week after the fire and said the stud had lost valuable genetics and progeny.

"I don't know exactly how many cattle we lost exactly but being a stud, it's the bloodlines as well as the numbers that make a massive difference," she said.

"We've lost some really good cattle and cows that we actually started with here."

The paddocks around the Carr's Mount Torrens home, which was spared, resembles a hospital ward, with calves and heifers receiving round-the-clock care for injuries sustained during the fire.

"We're giving injured cattle anti-inflammatories, applying Flamazine which is also used a lot in small animal practice for koalas and things," Zoe said.

"We're applying that to their udders, hosing their feet because some have really swollen, burnt feet.

"We're giving them antibiotics because there is a risk of pneumonia from breathing in smoke and dust."

While Zoe said some cattle were still in a precarious situation, the family have had to quickly start thinking about the future.

Thanks to the generosity of family friends, some cattle have been moved off onto agistment as owners Neil and Jo, and their other daughter Nikola, switch into recovery mode.

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"Fencing has started, but it's a case of prioritising by treating the injured animals and going from there," Zoe said.

"We're feeding the injured cows here two bales of hay a day.

"You've got to very quickly plan for the future. You don't have much of a chance to grieve but we have been helped by the amazing support of the community."

HARROGATE PRODUCERS GRATEFUL FOR NO STOCK LOSSES

Tom Hampton has received donated hay after all of his standing feed and hay bales were incinerated by the Cudlee Creek fire.

Tom Hampton has received donated hay after all of his standing feed and hay bales were incinerated by the Cudlee Creek fire.

At Harrogate, Tom and Kate Hampton of Adelaide Hills Pasturefed Beef were extremely grateful to not lose their home, sheds or Hereford breeders but are now facing the prospect of a feed and water shortage in coming months.

Mr Hampton said 80 per cent of their paddocks were razed, but luckily their cattle escaped the inferno.

"On the day of the fire we left at lunchtime and I moved them into the paddock closer to the house which has a big dam," he said.

"We thought that'd be the safest place for them if they needed to seek refuge. Every one of the cattle here survived, which was amazing.

"We also had cattle at Charleston and Brukunga, which also suffered fire damage, but thankfully there were no stock losses."

The aftermath of the Cudlee Creek fire on the Hampton's Harrogate property.

The aftermath of the Cudlee Creek fire on the Hampton's Harrogate property.

Fire scorched the Harrogate landscape.

Fire scorched the Harrogate landscape.

Mr Hampton said they'd lost at least a kilometre of fencing on their Harrogate property, as well as their standing feed and 60 round bales of hay.

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"The main challenges we'll face moving forward are a lack of feed and on the back of a dry year we will probably run out of water as well," he said.

"We've sourced 20 hay bales from the Livestock SA fodder depot in Oakbank.

"That'll help with the loss but won't be enough to recover the hay we did have set aside for the dry season."

The Hampton's Hereford herd grazing on the leaves of a tree felled during the fire.

The Hampton's Hereford herd grazing on the leaves of a tree felled during the fire.

Mr Hampton said the family had experienced a range of emotions since the fire, but were ultimately grateful.

"Compared to some, the loss we've had is small," he said.

"We're grateful that our house is still here and we have all our breeders which just means the world to me."

Fences were destroyed, but fortunately the Hampton's house and sheds were untouched.

Fences were destroyed, but fortunately the Hampton's house and sheds were untouched.

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