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Violent Floods Sweep Away Cows in Australia, Upending Supplies

  • Beef processors already face labor shortages and poor margins
  • Cattle have been found in odd places after being washed away
The flooded suburbs of Brisbane on March 1.
The flooded suburbs of Brisbane on March 1.Photographer: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images  

A deadly deluge of rain over eastern Australia is the latest challenge for agricultural supplies in the country as severe flooding pummels beef producers and upends critical transport routes in affected regions -- leaving cows stranded in strange places, or even dead on a beach.

Farmers in Queensland and northern New South Wales have rushed to relocate their herds to higher ground as rain that began falling in biblical proportions last weekend threatens loss of livestock, while the floods have forced temporary closures of major meat abattoirs, including JBS SA’s flagship Dinmore plant, which exports to over 50 countries. The plant is set to restart Wednesday, a spokesperson for company said.