Adelong bushfire experience like an 'overnight drought'

Adelong bushfire experience like an 'overnight drought'

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Almost eight months after bushfire ravaged his properties and Andrew Reynolds is still working to make his paddocks stock proof.

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Andrew Reynolds lost 97 per cent of his two properties in Adelong, NSW.

Andrew Reynolds lost 97 per cent of his two properties in Adelong, NSW.

The summer bushfires burnt out 97 per cent of Andrew Reynolds' two properties in Adelong, NSW, but thankfully his stock losses were minimal.

While Mr Reynolds only lost 39 head of cattle and none of his sheep, he described the experience as an "overnight drought".

"That's how dramatic and traumatic it was," he said.

He lost all of his fencing, his grass, hay and silage and a couple of hay sheds, but was able to save the houses and wool shed.

Almost eight months on and he is still "frantically trying to make paddocks stock proof" by repairing the damaged fences.

He said it was a time-consuming task and it was working out cheaper to put in new fences in some spots rather than repairing the damage.

One thing that had worked in Mr Reynolds' favour was that they had destocked prior to the fires.

"We'd been a little bit overstocked so because of the drought we backed our numbers right off," he said.

"We had plenty of grass and were pretty well set up to not have to do any feeding until it all went up in smokes."

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After the fires, he knew he just had to be systematic about his approach to rebuild.

He sold his wether lambs, weaned his calves early and preg-tested his cows and shortened their calving period.

He sold his ewe hoggets and was left with about 1400 ewes.

"Then we just put them in small containment paddocks and fed them everyday," he said.

"After the fire there was hay that turned up two days later which was amazing, the generosity of people.

"Then we got ourselves into a bit of a program, buying canola hay, barley straw and barley grain."

Mr Reynolds said if it weren't for the fires, they would have had one of the best autumn breaks in years.

"We've had about 400mm for the year, and at the end of July last year we'd had 260mm, the year before that 210mm and the year before that 260mm," he said.

But he said his paddocks were bouncing back.

"It's gone from famine to feast," he said.

He hasn't bought any more sheep in and said it would be something he would look into down the track.

"At the moment we could run a few more but we don't have the infrastructure," he said.

"It's a bit of a 12-month process getting back up and running; we've still only got probably half the farm stock proof."

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The story Adelong bushfire experience like an 'overnight drought' first appeared on Farm Online.

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