The prolonged drought affecting outback areas in the Eastern states of Australia has caused heavy losses in stock and grain harvests.
GV PAN: Dried up dam.
MV: Dead cattle. (TWO SHOTS)
MV: Farmer shoots dying stock.
CU: Withered tree trunk PAN DOWN TO dead cattle. (TWO SHOTS)
MV: Windmill water pump PAN TO dried dam.
MV: Reaper at Brisbane airport cutting grass. (THREE SHOTS)
CU: Sacks of grass cuttings donated by Lions Club. (TWO SHOTS)
CU: Money being collected for cattle feed.
MVs & CUs: Sacks of grass being loaded onto trucks. (SIX SHOTS)
MV: Starving cattle and farmer forking grass from moving truck. (FOUR SHOTS)
TRANSCRIPT: REPORTER: "This area of South East Queensland hasn't seen rain for more than a year. The earth is completely parched and even the perennial underground water is nearly dry. Dead cattle lie everywhere and those too weak to stand are shot. Most are hand feeding their herds using hay set aside for the winter "dry". Soon they'll have nothing left. Even now cattle are being fed pieces of wood. Less than 50 miles away, Brisbane has had enough rain to keep the grass growing and housewives hit on the idea of giving the city's grass to graziers. Huge tracks of land like Brisbane airport were mowed and thousands of people brought the clippings from their own lawns to collection centres. City dumps were used as depots and the project given wide publicity. The Lions' Organisation asked for donations to buy more feed and so far have collected more than 30,000 dollars. The main collection centre at Karinda was chaotic as hundreds arrived with grass clippings-made donations, and stayed to give hand. Organisers were amazed by the response. It was only an hour's drive to the worst effected areas. The cattle were excited by the sight of humans because man means hay. The Brisbane grass was high quality and should keep these cattle going a few days and then there'll be more feed bought with the money raised by Lions. The whole project has bought these cattle a few more weeks of life-after that the situation will be just as bad."
REPORTER: GRAEME BOWER
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The prolonged drought affecting outback areas in the Eastern states of Australia has caused heavy losses in stock and grain harvests. It's estimated that the losses will cost Australia one billion dollars Australian this year, unless there is an unexpected and dramatic change in weather condition. The drought extends from the southern state of Victoria to Queensland in the north where reporter Graeme Bower made this report.