meta Mypolonga family will sell their dairy farm because it is completely underwater. :: The Bullvine - The Dairy Information You Want To Know When You Need It

Mypolonga family will sell their dairy farm because it is completely underwater.


One Murraylands family has to sell their dairy cows and farm because their whole property flooded because a levee broke.

The Smart family spent almost 40 years building up their dairy business, but it was gone in just a few days.

David Smart, his three sons, and his son-in-law run the Mypolonga farm. All of them are now looking for new jobs and a new way of life.

At nearby Mannum, floodwaters have just reached their highest point, and SES satellite data shows that more than 3,400 properties have been flooded by the River Murray.

Katrina Moore, David Smart’s daughter, said that even though her family worked hard to protect their farm, things changed faster than anyone expected.

“We thought we had a few days, but one night we got a phone call saying the levee bank had broken and water was coming in fast,” she said.

“From that point on, everyone had to work together to get the cows to higher ground.”
Farm was completely flooded.

As the hole in the levee got bigger, Mrs. Moore said that her family had to play “a waiting game” to see how much higher the water would get.

As a safety measure, the family started to clean out the milking robots and office on the dairy farm.

But soon, the water would cover the whole property.

“Everything.” “Everything is under,” Mrs. Moore said, pointing to the ground.
After their farm in Mypolonga flooded, a family is in a lot of trouble.
After their farm in Mypolonga flooded, a family is in a lot of trouble.
(Supplied: Katrina Moore)

After the flood, the Smart family had to make the hard decision to sell their dairy farm.

Mrs. Moore said, “No one really wanted to sell the farm.”

“It’s what we have to do to stay alive, because we can’t keep going the way we are.

“Dad always told us kids that he was improving the farm for our future.

“Once the [milking] robots came, we thought our kids would be fine in the future… It’s hard for all of that to just go away.”
Finding work elsewhere

The Smart family doesn’t know what the future holds as they deal with the loss of their dairy farm and their way of life.

“My husband and all of my brothers will have to look for work elsewhere,” Mrs. Moore said.

“No one knows what they want to do or where they want to go for sure.

“We’ve lived on the farm together for our whole lives, but now it’s all over and we have to go our separate ways.”
The flood, says the Smart family, has forced them to sell their home.
The flood, says the Smart family, has forced them to sell their home.
(Supplied: Katrina Moore)

The family will slowly start to sell their dairy cows, milking robots, and any other equipment from their dairy business while they wait for the water to go down, which could take years.

Mrs. Moore said, “We can’t sell the paddocks yet, but we can sell everything else.”

“It’s terrible that this is now the case.

“Most people out there probably think it’s just some swaps, but it’s more than that to us.”
Getting 500 cows to safety on foot

David Smart, Katrina’s dad, has lived in Mypologna for 43 years.

He said that the loss of his family’s dairy farm was very sad.

Mr. Smart said that when the levee broke, his family needed help from the community to walk more than 500 of his dairy cows 3.5 kilometres to a higher paddock on another farm where they would be safe.

“Every time we made a plan, water closed another road, so we kept having to change it,” he said.
More than 500 dairy cows from Mypolonga were walked to higher ground.
More than 500 dairy cows from Mypolonga were walked to higher ground. (Supplied: Katrina Moore)

“We are on a neighbouring farm a little further up the road, and milking is taking forever and is very hard work.

“That was one of the main reasons why we decided [to sell the farm].”

Once, the cows would walk themselves into the dairy shed to be milked by a robot. Now, the Smart family is having trouble milking the animals with a rotary system, and there are problems with infection.

Mr. Smart said that the main goal right now was to get the cows milked and healthy enough to sell.

“I’d hate for them to go to meatworks after 40 years of breeding, but it might be the only choice,” he said.
“a nothing figure” for aid money

In areas of South Australia that were hit by floods, the federal and state governments have teamed up to offer an extra $126 million in relief funds. Primary producers can get up to $75,000 in recovery grants.

But Mr. Smart said that money wouldn’t make a difference.
The Smart family’s dairy farm was mostly flooded because a levee broke.
The Smart family’s dairy farm was mostly flooded because a levee broke.
(Supplied: Katrina Moore)

He said, “It’s not much of a number at all. Our day-to-day costs have quadrupled, and $75,000 won’t even last us a week.”

“It won’t bring back my farm.

“Trying to keep the family together was one of the main reasons we decided to sell the farm. If we had kept going the way we were, we might have broken up the family.

“I’m just not able to keep going like this.”
“Everyone came out and helped”

During the whole thing, Mr. Smart said, the local community came together to help.

“When we needed help moving the cows, everyone just showed up,” he said.

“I have relief milkers coming in tomorrow morning to give two of us a morning off… Even though they are small, they are very important.

“One of the hardest things is that when we built our house, we made sure it had a view. Every time I walk out the door, I see water, and it breaks my heart.”

Primary producers who were hurt by the floods can get recovery grants by calling 1800 931 314 or going to the website of the South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regions.


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