Widespread flooding has impacted a large part of the lower Hunter region, affecting many industries from dairy and beef farms to fodder producers.
For some days, the New England Highway will be unpassable in several places, and many arterial roads are cut-off and badly damaged.
Tony Bowe of Bowe & Lidbury Stock & Station at Maitland said the low-lying parts below the township had been inundated with water.
"South Maitland area farmhouses that didn't have water in them in the 2007 Pasha Bulka flood and 2015 flood have water in the houses a foot deep," he said.
"Access around Maitland is very slow; it can take up to one hour to go from west to east due to road closures. Usually, it takes five to 10 minutes."
Farmers have been through it before and are making the best of a bad situation.
"A lot of livestock are leaving the area going on agistment," Mr Bowe said.
"Some are selling their entire herd and will restock when it dries out, and pasture regrows.
Mr Bowe said he expects there to be a cattle shortage as a result.
Hereford breeder Terry Maher's two properties, Rathluba and Lochend, are located in Maitland close to where Wallis Creek joins the Hunter River, near the 1938-built floodgates.
He runs 60 head; fortunately, he was able to move about 20 of his replacement heifers to high ground before the water rose.
"Oddly, all the rain causing this event came from the Wallis Creek catchment, its headwaters starting on the eastern fall of the Watagans," he said.
"The intense rain fell between North Wyong and Wollombi. Major flooding occurred on the western fall into Wollombi Creek, which also runs to the Hunter.
"This current event dumped about 250mm, but the gauge was full. To date this year, we have had close to 800mm."
Mr Maher's family has farmed this land for more than 100 years. About 150mm of water entered the hayshed in this rain event - the first time since 1955.
"I was not prepared for the extent of the flooding and made an error of judgement in not moving all cattle to high ground while the opportunity was available," he said.
"About 40 head of mixed-age cattle were left isolated on a high point, and all have survived."
"The SES kindly offered a fodder drop, but we declined with the hope we could pull through. We have done some hay drops by boat, which is not easy for non-mariners.
"Snakes are upset and plentiful."
Mr Maher said the economic loss would be largely confined to the time and cost of the massive clean-up, replacing damaged gear, and accessing feed until the spring growth is available.
"There are scores of plastic-wrapped hay/silage bales washed up," he said.
"I am hoping some will be palatable for the cattle.
"Adjoining turf farms will have suffered massive economic loss bearing in mind the frequency of flooding now."
With some low-lying country still underwater, it is a bit of a surprise that the team at Boambee Angus consider themselves "very lucky".
More than 320 hectares of the 1200-hectare East Seaham property were flood-affected with fencing infrastructure, and most of the winter crops of oats, ryegrass and clovers decimated.
Jamie Grosser said things could have been worse if the Boambee didn't have some high country to move their 750 head of Angus onto.
"It's not the biggest flood we have had here, but it did some damage," he said.
"I don't know if it is because of all the rain we have had, but this flood had a lot more debris, which has affected the fencing.
"We're luckier than some people at Millers Forrest and Nelsons Plains who are all in low-lying country."
Mr Grosser said planning played a big part in keeping the herd safe.
"Whenever we get a warning, we prepare and move the stock onto higher ground."
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) praised livestock owners for their planning and efforts to evacuate their stock to safety, with many utilising local Animal Safe Places or finding their own agistment as the flood threat loomed.
"NSW DPI and Local Land Services are providing emergency assistance to landholders and communities with animal welfare-related issues resulting from the floods, including animal assessment and veterinary assistance, euthanasia and burial of animals, emergency fodder, care of animals in evacuation centres," a NSW DPI spokesperson said.
"Stock are being well cared for in evacuation centres."
The Agriculture and Animal Services Hotline (AASFA) 1800 814 647 is open between 9am-5pm for producers to request emergency assistance, such as fodder, livestock assessment or euthanasia and burial for animals.
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