With the full extent of the damage of flooding across NSW's Northern Rivers region and south-east Queensland still unknown, the Australian Stock Horse Society has made the difficult decision to postpone next week's 2022 ASHS National Show.
Due to commence in Tamworth next Thursday, March 10, the show has joined a stack of store cattle and feature cattle sales that have been derailed by the unprecedented weather.
The ASHS board said in support of its membership and after taking stock of the financial impact to the society there was no alternative but to postpone the show.
"There's been so many people in south-east Queensland and so many that live on the [NSW] coastal fringes that unfortunately have lost horses or are going to be affected by this," said ASHS chief executive Andrew Cooper.
"It's unusual the floods have affected both Queensland and NSW. It's had a massive impact.
"The situation is still escalating in Newcastle and the Lower Hunter today and it will slowly impact a larger area."
Mr Cooper said it was in the best interest of ASHS members to find a new date.
"We feel for everybody, not just our members, affected by the floods," he said.
It has been a tough few years for the society, which postponed its national show in 2020 due to COVID-19 and just scraped through with a show last year.
"We would [ordinarily] have 850 horses competing in various classes across 10 days. It's our biggest national prestige event," Mr Cooper said. "Obviously we want everyone to be there."
The society is currently working with the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre (ALEC), Tamworth, to lock in a new date.
Agents have also pulled the pin on upcoming cattle sales, roads have been cut and properties inundated with water, but in any case the immediate priorities have been shifting cattle to higher ground and tracking down trucks.
Mitch Donovan of Donovan Livestock and Property, Grafton, said last Saturday's Clarence Valley Select Female and Breeder Sale had been cancelled along with today's feeder steer and weaner sale.
"Our other problem is getting cattle north to Queensland to the abbattoirs," Mr Donovan said.
"We can't go up to Queensland and the Gwydir Highway has been opened and shut because of landslides.
"A positive is that a lot of the guys with weaners aren't in that lower country.
"They're high and dry and able to sit it out."
Sales at Gloucester, Dungog and along the coast have been postponed for a later date.
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