Flood survivor bulls succumb to extreme heat

Vendor forced to pull out of Big Country 2019 due to bull deaths


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Three of the GI Brahman bulls which were to be sold at Big Country 2019.

Three of the GI Brahman bulls which were to be sold at Big Country 2019.

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GI Brahmans have been forced to pull out of the Big Country Brahman sale after three of their bulls died in a freak heat burst.

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THEY survived 1.7 metres of rain falling in mere days without losing any condition, but a freak heat burst claimed that lives for three grey Brahman bulls that were being prepared for the Big Country sale.

GI Brahman stud had sent their eight selected Brahman bulls to a feedlot at Calcium in readiness for the annual sale in Charters Towers, which has been twice delayed due to weather.

Owner Kelvin Harriman said about 1.7 metres of rain had fallen in the area around the feedlot where they were housed earlier this month, and they barely lost a kilo.

But when the rain stopped, a freak heat burst which saw temperatures rise by over 10C in a matter of minutes, was too much for three of their greys.

"It was a heat blast that only lasted 40 minutes, we don't really know but it rose 10C to 20C in the space of minutes," Kelvin said.

"It was two to three days after they got the rain, about 1.7 metres and they got through all that and were looking pretty good.

"They had been there for a while to prepare for the sale.

"It is just one of those freakish things.

"The reds are fine but we lost the lead grey and a couple of other little bulls.

"They got pretty well hammered through it all, the reds don't look too bad, but the greys aren't real flash."

Mr Harriman said the stud would no longer be selling at Big Country, with a veterinarian advising their remaining bulls should not travel in the immediate term.

"The specialist vet said to give them 10 days to get over it minimum, we don't want to risk them."

Mr Harriman said the bulls would be fertility tested before they were put to sale later in the year.

He said they had also endured losses on their property Thagoona, Muttaburra, but had fared better than many.

"We got 12 inches at the block here but further up there was 26-28 inches that has come down a little bit.

"We lost a few but not as bad as a lot of the other fellas out there.

"We went mustering and brought some back from the neighbours yesterday, a few fences went down, I'm not sure how many kilometres but we'll just be focused on getting the boundary fences back up.

"It is drying out pretty quickly, and ironically, we could do with a bit more rain to wash all the mud off." 

One saving grace for the Harrimans, was the top price bull they purchased at Brahman Week 2018 for $100,000, is still out of harms way in Rockhampton.

"We hadn't brought him home yet, so that turned out to be a blessing." 

Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Adam Blazak confirmed there had been a heat wave west of Townsville shortly after the flooding.

"It is brought about by an upper level ridge brought about by the atmosphere sinking, as it sinks the air warms and it doesn't really support cloud formation, so the warm air and lots of sunshine work together to create those hot conditions," Mr Blazak said.

"The was a bit of dry air inland from Townsville shortly after the floods and that brings the potential for those rapid increases in temperature."

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