STOCK PROBLEM: Working dogs lead  cattle out of the current flooding to higher land in Far North Queensland.
STOCK PROBLEM: Working dogs lead cattle out of the current flooding to higher land in Far North Queensland. Contributed

Defence set to air drop food to stock stranded by flooding

FLOOD-affected Queensland farmers with hungry livestock will soon be able to mark on a map where they need emergency fodder dropped from defence aircraft.

AgForce is developing the Emergency Fodder Drop Map, which would allow producers to drop a pin on the map to let the Defence taskforce know the quantity required and where it should be delivered.

This follows Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud and the ADF stepping in to assist flood-affected cattle producers who had until six days ago, been suffering from one of the longest droughts on record.

It is still unclear who would pay for the fodder that would be sourced from the Northern Territory and New South Wales.

AgForce chief executive Michael Guerin said a 1800 Hotline and the drop map were due to go online shortly.

He said although it was too early for a precise estimate of the financial cost from livestock losses and damage to property and equipment, it was likely to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

"At the moment, affected producers are unable to leave their houses, which now resemble islands, to assess the state of their livestock or inspect damage to grazing land, buildings, equipment or fences," Mr Guerin said.

"Stock losses will be much higher than normal, because drought-weakened cattle are more susceptible to being caught and drowned in floodwaters or dying of exposure in the wet, cold winds."

Mr Littleproud wrote to the Queensland Agriculture Minister on Tuesday advising that the Federal Government would assist in any way necessary.

"Whilst the logistics are still to be worked out, the Australian Defence Force will use its aircraft to help our farmers," Minister Littleproud said.

"Australians help each other out and I'm rapt Defence will be helping out our farmers and looking after animal welfare."