A wife's concern for her farmer husband's wellbeing
MAREE Gerhardt is like so many other farming women who are nearing their wits end, and there's not much that can be done about it.
Except perhaps tell her story and that of her family struggling to win the fight against the drought on their grazing property, Fairymount.
The family property hasn't seen decent rain for two years.
The 30mm that fell three weeks ago - the last decent rain over the past 12 months - hasn't been enough to grow fodder for the cattle which are now in such poor condition, they are not able to be trucked to sale.
This has forced the family's hand and loaded the gun.
"We're not destroying strong and healthy cows," Mrs Gerhardt explained.
"Some are walking scarecrows - we can't feed them enough to take them through winter."
Her husband sees the state of his cows daily, and without decent rain will be forced to cull an entire paddock - first the old or weak beasts, then anything unlikely to make it through winter.
Young calves that won't make it face the same prospect.
Mrs Gerhardt said while it was a financial blow to destroy the farm's assets, it was the emotional toll that worried her the most.
She worries about her husband going out to the paddocks on his own with all the farmer suicides caused by the enormous strain they are under.
"I know he isn't at that point but we hear of other farmers who weren't at that point either, but then it happened.
"To shoot one cow - it's very tough. But having to shoot hundreds as others already have, I can't imagine that."
Their property is situated between St George and Goondiwindi, and when the paddocks are green and stock is fed, the community is strong.
"But the community is shattered.
"We're trying to help ourselves out first - we hardly speak to our neighbours anymore.
"It's not that we don't want to, it's that we're bogged down in our own backyard dealing with things the best we can."
Her story is not an isolated one but the same affecting hundreds of farmers across the state of which 70 per cent remains drought declared.
She has shared her story in the hope of raising awareness and wanted to convey the message that what is happening on Fairymount is happening everywhere.