They have endured two years of suffocating drought and now the Caldwell family have suffered another cruel blow – the brazen theft of nearly 200 sheep.
A frustrated fourth generation Young farmer Lachlan Caldwell said it was blow to have worked so hard retaining livestock through the dry times, only to have them stolen by callous thieves.
“The last two years have been tough, worse than our 1982 records,” Mr Caldwell said.
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“We will have an ongoing impact from a financial point of view, it will impact on wool in winter and lambing next spring.
“If we get a third ordinary year it will certainly put pressure on our income.”
The Caldwells mustered, drenched and counted the sheep on December 11 but when they came back on December 19 for crutching and another count, 193 livestock had been stolen.
“This has been performed by organised thieves who have done their homework,” he said. The merino ewes, aged three to six-years-old, had seven months of wool on their back and were taken from their lease block east of Milvale.
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It comes after more than 1000 were taken from a property at Tullamore in the same month. Rural Crime Prevention Team Southern Zone Coordinator Detective Senior Constable Damian Nott said police were regularly investigating incidents of livestock theft of sheep and cattle.
“They are not uncommon,” Mr Nott said. He said it was not just the commercial value of the animal but future losses of wool and breeding that impacted the landholder’s income. He urged landholders to report rural crime early and said police were available for advice on prevention measures.