South Australian Angus stallion breeders Ben and Samantha Glatz were devastated when the recent Lucindale grass fire washed away nearly 250 of their cows.
The herd, which has been raised for 25 years, could take up to a decade to replace.
The Avenue Range couple were on vacation in Victoria with their sons Dylan and Jack on January 11 when they were notified of a fire in their hometown.
After investigating the anticipated weather conditions, the family realized that there was a strong possibility that their property was threatened.
Unfortunately it was. The family lost all their pasture, about 90 percent of their fences, two hay sheds, a shearing shed, and all their hay and fodder.
“From that point on, our lives changed dramatically,” Glatz said.
“It was not a good feeling to be helpless and know what the weather conditions were like.”
The water bombers protected the home from the initial threat and friends from the private firefighting units cleaned up and prevented the home from further potential damage.
A “brave” neighbor saved the dog and moved some cattle to a safer place.
The farmer drove down the family driveway, realized they weren’t home, and “did what he could” in front of the fire.
“He was in a really bad position when he was trying to escape the fire in his vehicle. He had a water bomber that fell on him, with the dog in the back of his vehicle in the meadow. He was in the line of fire, literally. , ”Mr. Glatz said.
“We have great respect for him. We cannot thank him enough for what he did the day and the following days.”
“He was a guy we met casually. Now I feel that we as a family have a strong bond and I’m sure we will continue to be in regular contact in the future.”
The family is left with a minimum number of breeding females ahead of their 14th annual bull sale on February 17.
However, Mr. Glatz has a wide network in the Angus community and in the brood industry in general.
He has broadened his circles through his work as a certified ultrasound technician in various states, as well as his participation in Angus Youth and the South Australian Junior Heifer Expo.
This wider community has joined them.
Her neighbors Tom and Lizzy Baker offered their place, the Woonallee Sale Complex, as an alternative location.
The SA Angus committee has started an online fundraiser for the family, while others have donated fodder and labor.
Glatz said it could take five to 10 years to rebuild the amount of stock, which was previously displayed at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, as well as the Adelaide and Melbourne shows.
“We may need to implement a faster approach to do so, using technology like embryo transfer,” he said.
Despite adversity, the Glatz family remains optimistic in the recovery phase.
“To be a breeder, be it studs or studs, you really have to invest in it,” he said.
“It’s a seven-day-a-week business, but if you’re passionate and enjoying it, it doesn’t necessarily feel like work.
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“This has been our business for 25 years and we are looking positively towards rebuilding.”