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Piggery recovering after Boxing Day storm

RECOVERY MODE: Bryce Swift with wife Sarah following the Boxing Day storms.
RECOVERY MODE: Bryce Swift with wife Sarah following the Boxing Day storms. Kathy Duff

A PIGGERY near Wondai, which also breeds goats, lost several animals during the Boxing Day storms.

Farmer Bryce Swift said dozens of sheds on his property were also damaged.

"It was later on in the afternoon, it would have been 5pm, I looked out the window and there was a massive green-looking storm heading straight our way. I thought that wouldn't be good,” Mr Swift said.

"We had hail here the size of cricket balls. We've got huge dints just everywhere. We had broken windows in the house.

"We had three sheds completely demolished. Every single roof; we've got 12 roofs on sheds we have to replace.”

Mr Swift said the pigs in the 1200-head piggery survived the storm unhurt.

"They were a little bit bruised, but mainly they were really stressed-out,” he said.

"There would have been a lot of pigs running around in the pens.

"We didn't lose any, which was an absolute miracle.”

Other animals on the farm were not so lucky.

"We did lose 13 goats all up, they died in the storm, as did two calves and two lambs,” he said.

"They're worth a fair bit of money too. That's our business, so it's a fair loss for us.

"At the moment we're trying to increase our breeding stock. All the goats we lost were all our future breeding does. We were hoping to have an extra 20 breeders this year. We lost 13 so now we only have seven left. It really sucks.”

Mr Swift estimated it would take about six months for his property to get back on track.

"Our income will be affected for at least six months. On top of that we'll have to take extra time off work to do clean-up work,” he said.

"It really has impacted us heavily.

"Every fence on the property has a tree over it. We've been rounding up stock trying to keep everything in.”

He said support from neighbours, as well as SES and Ergon, had been very much appreciated.

"They've all been a fantastic help,” he said.

"We've had a lot of support, which we really appreciate.”

Mr Swift said it was hard seeing his property following the storm.

"I'm the type of person who's worked towards an absolutely beautiful place and takes a lot of pride in it,” he said.

"To see it all flat, all your hard work has been demolished. It pulls at your heart strings a lot, it's quite upsetting.

"But you see through all that and think at least I'll rebuild one day, it'll be better and new. It'll take a long time and a lot of work to get it back to a manageable position.”

Topics:  boxing day storm wondai

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