Hay rolls in for fire-affected farmers

23 Jan, 2016 01:00 AM
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WHAT started off being only a few bales of hay turned into a convoy of 25 B-Double trucks delivering to farmers affected by the bushfire in the Waroona area.

Since last week's efforts by Grass Valley resident Kelly Battista to get a few loads of hay to the area, WA farmers have piled their trucks to feed livestock in the fire zone. Even more is on its way.

"Interest in donating just grew and grew," Ms Battista said.

"I had people I had never met ringing me up wanting to know where to drop off their hay.

"People donated their trucks, their time and hay in all sizes and quantities and by last Tuesday we had a permit and six trucks full of hay."

The hay was delivered to Waroona farmers Donna and past shire president Mike Warmsley's property.

The Warmsley family defended their home, as well as many of their neighbouring properties and are now co-ordinating the pick-up of the fodder to local dairy and cattle producers affected by the blaze.

The Warmsleys' lost about 50 haectares of their 240ha property.

"We were lucky, we had some good people, we didn't lose any livestock and we saved the house and sheds," Mr Warmsley said.

"A lot of guys put some water in the back and they did make a difference."

As soon as Ms Battista and the convoy arrived, there were local utes and trailers ready to get hay to feed their cattle.

"We pulled up into a black paddock, where not a stalk of grass could be seen," Ms Battista said.

"It was confronting seeing it first hand.

"The hay we delivered went straight to cattle in the area, and what we delivered was all gone that day."

Since the initial delivery, Ms Battista and the Warmsley's have had hundreds of phone calls with people from all over WA wanting to donate more.

"We were having to tell farmers to take more because they were only taking a bale or two," she said.

Unfortunately while donations were being made, it was difficult to get trucks into the area.

Mr Warmsley has been assisting with delivering hay to locals and said he has had a few issues with road blocks.

"It is hard to get access," he said.

"I did have to get some permits to move around and it was an eye-opener in itself.

"Until last weekend, I was getting stopped trying to get emergency fodder through.

"I was told to get a permit, and when I did go in, I was told I didn't need one.''

To donate money or hay towards the affected farmers, call WAFarmers on (08) 9486 2100, email reception@wafarmers.org.au or visit our GoFundMe page.

If your have been affected by the fire and require emergency fodder, contact Jessica Andony at Western Dairy on 0435 174 719 or the Warmsleys on 0427 089 499.

FarmWeekly
Jacinta Bolsenbroek

Jacinta Bolsenbroek

is a senior journalist at Farm Weekly

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