AN EFFORT to collect hay for drought-affected farmers has grown into a huge operation to get nearly 1000 bales of hay to the mainland.
Dairy farmer Michael Perkins said Robbie Edwards of Cowbiz Stockfeed started the hay bale drive across northern Tasmania.
“The initial aim was to see if we can get some hay into New South Wales,” he said.
“We thought we might be able to get six or eight loads. We’ve got up to 20 now.”
Mr Perkins said they had been blown away by the generosity of Tasmanian farmers donating the large bales after a good hay crop this season.
“It’s been amazing. People have just come out of the woodwork.
“We’ve got hay from right across the northern half of the state, From Marrawah to Scottsdale.”
We’ve got hay from right across the northern half of the state, from Marrawah to Scottsdale.
Now the challenge is to get about 450 tonnes of hay across the Bass Strait and through Victoria to where farmers in southern and central western New South Wales haven’t seen adequate rain in months.
Nationally it was the driest July since 2002 and most of mainland southern Australia experienced below-average rainfall.
“This isn’t going to fix it, just going to help to get to the line until the rain comes,” Mr Perkins said.
The farmer from Latrobe knows from personal experience what it is like to experience hardship through environmental events beyond his control.
His property in Latrobe was covered with debris during floods in June 2016.
“We were devastated and it’s taken us two years to get back to where we were before the floods. We were lucky with people who helped us out.
This is just our way to do a little something to pay back.
Some Victorians have pitched in by shipping tarps to Tasmania to cover the hay during transport.
Others in Victoria have volunteered to drive the hay to where it’s needed.
Mr Pekins said while the organisers have put their own money in to cover transport costs, any donations would go a long way to making sure the delivery can be made.
He hoped the first shipment would be sent by the end of this week or as soon as space becomes available.
- This article first appeared in the Burnie Advocate.