A DAIRY farmer is counting his losses after six cows were killed by a suspected lightning strikes at his Far Northern property.
Malanda cattleman James Johnston was searching for his missing cattle before milking when he stumbled on the carcasses on yesterday morning.
"They just looked like a dead cow, but I didn't cut them open. Dad said the insides would have been cooked," he said.
"We just found them dead in the paddock and we just kept milking. There was quite a lot of lightning around."
The four Illawarra and two Holstein cows were found within about five metres of each other.
Mr Johnston said lightning was the only explanation.
"I am not sure what else it would be," he said.
Almost 100mm has fallen in Malanda since Wednesday morning.
Mr Johnston, manages 182ha on Hillcrest Rd, estimated the cows were worth about $1500 each and produced up to 20 litres per day.
"I don't think it is very common on the Tablelands. There was farmer who lost 20 head 15 years ago and someone lost 13 at Ravenshoe last year," he said.
Workers dragged the carcasses to an isolated part of the paddock.