Spotlight on NSW's Stories of Hope

Spotlight on NSW's Stories of Hope

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Here's just some of the amazing stories to come out of NSW of farmers and rural folk making the best they can of the drought.

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After years of reporting on the impact of drought, our team of journalists had a conversation about how we could create a special publication that truly acknowledged the magnitude of this natural disaster.

We felt we needed to provide a historical account of the worst drought on record while also highlighting the incredible work being done on farms and in communities to preserve the welfare of stock, keep producing crops and look after each other.

And so 100 Stories of Hope was born. This important project is a collaboration between the journalists at Queensland Country Life, The Land, Stock & Land and Farmonline.

Here we take a snapshot look at all Stores of Hope from New South Wales. Each summary provides a link to the full story so you can continue reading these incredible yarns.

Joanne and Tracey Gowen at their property Argyll near Walcha with some of their Angus breeders. Photos: Lucy Kinbacher

Joanne and Tracey Gowen at their property Argyll near Walcha with some of their Angus breeders. Photos: Lucy Kinbacher

'Why we aren't doing away with breeding in dry'

Mother and daughter duo Joanne and Tracey Gowen are hand feeding their 400 breeders at Walcha and Uralla in NSW. They're not feeding for survival though, they are feeding for production.

The pair are well back on the 600 to 650 Angus females they would run on Barrakee and Argyll and despite a threatening water shortage from back-to-back dry seasons, their October/November still went ahead.

Read their story here.

Barry Haskins (in green) with Chris Morshead, with whom he share farms, and one of his agronomists, Albert Gorman, in the canola crop that averaged 1.4 tonnes a hectare.

Barry Haskins (in green) with Chris Morshead, with whom he share farms, and one of his agronomists, Albert Gorman, in the canola crop that averaged 1.4 tonnes a hectare.

Canola crop defies rainfall

Griffith farmer and agronomist, Barry Haskins, has managed to grow a dryland canola crop which yielded from one to 1.4 tonnes a hectare, with only 140 millimetres of rain.

Mr Haskins said the crop had two falls of around 40mm, just after the 200ha crop was dry-sown in early April.

This enabled the canola to get up and going enough for its roots to reach deep moisture, conserved in the soil since 2016.

Read the full story here.

Tony and Annabel Wallace, Erinvale, Murringo, after drafting and weighing White Suffolk/Merino weaner lambs.

Tony and Annabel Wallace, Erinvale, Murringo, after drafting and weighing White Suffolk/Merino weaner lambs.

Mother, wife and daughter essential

The partnership combination has long been the mainstay of operating farming businesses in Australia, and through this drought the power of two people working in unison is irresistible.

Such is the case for Tony and Annabel Wallace on Erinvale, Murringo, which has been in the family for 21 years.

Read the family's story here.

Jeff and Anna Holcombe, Burren Junction. Photo: Rachael Webb

Jeff and Anna Holcombe, Burren Junction. Photo: Rachael Webb

In the breeding at Walgett

The Walgett area in North West NSW produces some top stock - people included - because it takes a certain type to thrive in these parts.

The Holcombe family at Burren Junction are of just such stock. Punctuated by a good 2016 winter, they've otherwise been in drought for seven years and in February will have fed stock for three straight years.

Read their story here.

Lawrence Balcomb with the full-body pressure suit he had to wear for the first two years after an accident which changed his life.

Lawrence Balcomb with the full-body pressure suit he had to wear for the first two years after an accident which changed his life.

Lawrence was blown away by human kindness

Just over nine years ago an explosion blew off his left foot, broke every bone in his face and burnt 75 per cent of his body but Canowindra farmer, Lawrence Balcomb, says he is a very lucky person.

His luck started when his mother, Moyna, came home from town and heard his cries for help as he lay on the ground, a bleeding, burnt and battered mess. But so many more stars aligned that day...

Read the full story here.

Emily Mosely takes a break in the yards with 'Annie'. Photo: Kerrilie Peatey

Emily Mosely takes a break in the yards with 'Annie'. Photo: Kerrilie Peatey

Big plans ahead for Emily's life

There may be many farm-bred youth who leave home for other careers and never return to the farm, but not Emily Mosely.

She has her eyes squarely set on returning home to the farm after gaining tertiary and industry experience.

This is her story.

Tony Single was busy with harvest at Narratigah Coonamble NSW despite the dry season

Tony Single was busy with harvest at Narratigah Coonamble NSW despite the dry season

Crop harvested despite drought

Despite drought conditions and minimal in-crop rainfall, some farmers in the Coonamble district of NSW have managed to get a crop through to harvest this year, showcasing the importance of zero tillage systems, good weed control and varietal choice.

Coonamble farmer Tony Single said about half the normal cropping program had been planted at Narratigah after a break of up to 70 millimetres of rain fell in March.

Find out the full story here.

Anthony and Libby James with their daughter, Caitlin, finish feeding maiden ewes.

Anthony and Libby James with their daughter, Caitlin, finish feeding maiden ewes.

Planning budgets ahead for James'

Keeping ahead of the situation is first priority for everything that will happen on the James family's 3080 hectare property, Springvale, and it's all about looking positively to the future - three months ahead at least.

As Anthony James, wife Libby, and Anthony's parents, Lyndon and Wendy, foresee deterioration, they set a plan to face the challenge head-on.

Read the full story here.

Weddin Mountain Muster organisers Rebecca Maslin, Megan Taylor, Don Robinson, and Virginia Drogemuller.

Weddin Mountain Muster organisers Rebecca Maslin, Megan Taylor, Don Robinson, and Virginia Drogemuller.

Muster helps Grenfell local reach space dreams

In 18 years the Weddin Mountain Muster has grown from a handful of people to 110 riders and a wait list to participate.

The trail riding event is held at the Grenfell Showgrounds in spring and chairman Don Robinson said for years the event has raised money for the showground's maintenance and upgrades, while ensuring the local community also benefits.

Read all about the ride here.

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