Nevertire graziers Buzz and Noreen Pulver with their son Peter have been on the road for 18 months trying to keep their herd of Santa Gertrudis alive through the drought. Now they are appealing to Shooters Fishers and Farmers newest Member for Barwon, Roy Butler, to help them win access to a bit of untouched feed on the Bogan river.
The only obstacle is Local Land Services which has so far refused them further access to grass, granting only a two week permit to head back home.
Unless the family can gain access to the paddock of summer grass, growing in a travelling stock reserve near Dandaloo, the fate of 200 Santa Gertrudis cows in calf will follow that of the 300 heifers, tested in calf, that were trucked to Dinmore meatworks earlier this week - sold for $100 less than what has been spent on each of them since drought took hold.
"Who would have expected this to go on for so long?" asked Mr Pulver, originally from Hillston, who for the past 18 years has bred up this Santa herd from Rockingham and Wattasanta blood - thus the reluctance to let them go.
For the past 18 months the Pulver family have been taking it in turns to look after their cattle on the road, trucking water in a 15,000 litre tank and tipping 2000 litres at a time into a mobile trough. At the peak of their operation, with 670 head hanging on the outcome, the family were making five and six trips for water a day - with no discount on their $80,000 agistment bill from the LLS.
Now the herd has been culled to 200 precious head with females coming up to calving and only 100 days worth of feed back home on the family property.
Central West Local Land Services meanwhile is standing by its commitment to retain 50 per cent ground cover on reserves.
"The NSW Government and LLS is committed to a viable and connected TSR network. " said an LLS spokesperson."The reserves are a public asset and need to be managed for their long-term sustainability.
"Where there needs to be a change or cancellation of the permit ... the team ... will work with (permit holders) to find a sensible and safe exit of livestock."
Message from the Local land Services
"With NSW experiencing the current drought conditions, there has been increased demand for access to the TSRs which has increased grazing pressure. Many of the TSRs reac critical groundcover levels in the winter.
Like farming land, it's important to note TSRs are not immune to drought and Local Land Services (LLS) must continue to manage them in accordance with those conditions to allow for a quick recovery when conditions improve.
Central West LLS is continually working with stock owners to facilitate access to any 'pockets' of feed through short term grazing permits and we work with Local Government to issue roadside grazing permits, where it is safe to do so.
In acknowledging the current condition limitations on the TSR network, no TSRs are closed in NSW. Permits for grazing the Travelling Stock Reserves are allocated as requests come in based on feed availability at the time. Permit applications are generally assessed, and issued where appropriate, by the local TSR Ranger on a first come, first served basis.
With isolated storms across the region, some variance in feed and water supply has resulted. Some areas have missed out on substantial rains and conditions have continued to deteriorate especially in the Coonamble and Nyngan districts. Other areas have received good rain and are in varying stages of recovery with the south east part of the region with good feed and water supply and other areas have recovered to a point where some slow travel and grazing is suitable.
Isolated storms have created small pockets of feed across the region, however there are also long distances between without sufficient feed which is adding to the difficulty of finding routes to issue walking permits."