THE dry season is taking its toll on WA dairy farmers, with many being forced to spend thousands of

14 Dec, 2006 07:00 PM

Third generation dairy farmer Dale Hanks of Harvey said he would be spending about $50,000 more than normal to provide grain and a further $15,000 for water.

Mr Hanks said the extra expense was due to the high grain prices and because Harvey Water had cut back his allotted amount of water for irrigation by 35pc.

The Harvey Fresh supplier said he would have to buy water from landholders and lifestylers in the area who had shares in the coo-perative.

Mr Hanks said he needed the water for irrigation as well as to keep his dairy clean.

³It is just as well we do not have too much debt,² he said.

Harvey Water general manager Geoff Calder said the cooperative held water auctions every year with the 2006 auction held last week.

³Some farmers trade their share allocations between each other and we try and assist people in trading water via auction,² Mr Calder said.

³The auction system is one that farmers are familiar with and they are able to see the prices and compare.

³The average price from the last auction was $65/mL for temporary trade.²

Temporary trade means that at the end of the period of time agreed to between buyer and seller, the allocation reverts back to the original shareholder.

Permanent trading was also available.

³The prices are higher than expected,² Mr Calder said.

³Demand goes up and we see prices go up. I guess that is the market at work.²

Mr Calder said Harvey Water had seven dams in the hills east of Harvey and the cooperative traded 7-10gL a year. Harvey Water had trading areas in Harvey, Waroona and Collie and the areas were not interlinked.

Mr Calder said the goal was to have Waroona and Harvey connected in three years via pipeline, which Harvey Water was funding itself.


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