A generous donation from the American Brahman Breeders Association is helping a beef genetics conference take place in Cloncurry later this month.
The shocking pictures of hundreds of thousands of stock left dead in the wake of the February 2019 monsoon disaster in north west Queensland gained worldwide attention at the time, including among cattlemen in the US.
"They certainly got the message that it was pretty ordinary," Cloncurry's Rodger Jefferis said. "They did an incredible thing - they just held all these embryo and semen auctions to raise money for us."
Over $43,000 was donated, on the proviso that it go to Brahman breeders in need in the flood zone.
Sisters of the North organiser Susan Dowling said that was made possible by their database and the LiveVoucher system but some recipients had decided to pool the money, which was the foundation for the herd rebuilding conference on March 23-24.
Aimed at making the most of the terrible situation by super-charging superior herd redevelopment through genetics, it was initially planned to take place 12 months ago but the national COVID lockdown put paid to that.
Mr Jefferis, who is part of the north west branch of the Australian Brahman Breeders Association that is planning the gathering along with SotN and the Cloncurry Shire Council, said a year later there was still a real demand for education on herd improvement.
"I've been trying to get the genetic message out for a while but there's still more that can be done," he said.
"For example, Henry Burke, when he was with AACo, said if they lifted their branding rate by 5 per cent and weaning weight by 15kg, that was worth $518m to their company.
"It's a bit like compounding interest."
In the past, if producers wanted to make more money they ran more fences and put in more waters, Mr Jefferis said, or found more boat cattle, but most places had reached their stocking capacity now and so genetic improvement was the only way forward for them.
The impressive lineup of speakers includes MLA's genetics program manager Hamish Chandler, UNE's animal genetics and breeding unit principal research scientist Dr David Johnston plus its beef cattle geneticist Dr Matt Wolcott, Tropical Beef Technology Services technical officer Paul Williams, beef researcher Alan Laing, and Fred Shephard, who manages NAPCo's bull breeding unit.
Mr Jefferis said Mr Shephard was quietly spoken but very knowledgeable, while Mr Laing had worked for decades with the Lisgar Droughtmaster stud near Ayr, achieving stunning results in fertility and early bullock turnoff.
Also speaking is local doctor Emma Gillmore, who will be talking about the importance of mental and physical wellbeing in business productivity.
"She was here in Cloncurry through the flood - she saw what went on," Mr Jefferis said. "The pressure did start to tell on some, especially when they branded something like 20 out of 1000 calves."
Suncorp Bank's agribusiness head April Cavanagh will be outlining their approach to helping people restock.
The chairman and CEO of the North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency, Shane Stone is on the speaking list but may have Canberra commitments to attend to.
Mr Jefferis said they were hoping to cater for up to 150 people, depending on the COVID restrictions in place at the time of the muster on March 23-24.
All the geneticists are staying on for one-on-one consultations on the second day, which will allow producers to sit down and go through the points made in more detail.
The evening speaker is Northern Territory stockman Sam Bailey, who was dealt his own curveball when a car accident resulted in him becoming a paraplegic.
Mr Jefferis said the region was recovering pretty well but the loss of so many calves would start having a compounding effect on production figures.
"People will start feeling the loss of that this year, with no bullocks to sell," he said. "But people quickly put it out of their minds and just got on with it."
Original story on North Qld Register.