THE long, slow days on the stock route would be easier to bear if Tim and Linda Sypher were headed for home.
The couple have been on the road with 850 head of cattle since early April but say falls of just 27mm on their property, Araby, 100km south of Roma, during December, make returning home impossible for now.
Around the Maranoa and Warrego, the Syphers are among an unlucky few that didn’t get a decent share in the big rainfall totals that delivered widespread relief to landholders during December.
Falls in excess of 250mm (10 inches) were not uncommon in the Injune, Mitchell and Morven districts while closer to Roma most picked up at least 125 to 150mm for the month.
The Syphers had to endure wet days on the road, knowing the rain still hadn’t arrived at Araby.
They reached their lowest point when they heard from a neighbour that a storm close to their property had delivered 75mm.
"We were so excited but when we finally got hold of the caretaker he said we'd only had 18mm," Mr Sypher said.
"That was a terrible low for us."
Mr Sypher said Araby had received just 125mm (5 inches) during 2014 and 275mm (11 inches) in 2013.
He said the dams were bone dry and pastures were non-existent.
They cut scrub, carted water and supplemented their herd for six months before deciding to hit the road.
"The cows were really too poor to sell and cattle prices were terrible so we felt we had no choice but to go on the road with them," Mr Sypher said.
With some help from extended family and backpackers, the Syphers walked their herd north to Taroom before heading south through Dulacca, Condamine, Glenmorgan and Surat.
When the rain began falling north of Roma in early December they turned for Injune.
While devastated to have missed out on rain at Araby, Mrs Sypher said they were grateful for the fresh feed in the long paddock and the additional marketing options the rain would provide.
"We will probably look to unload a few now that they have freshened up and there will be more demand for cows which is a positive," she said.