Farmer in the manure over cattle crossing

08 Aug, 2014 02:00 AM
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3
 
People have forgotten it is a rural setting and as a result they have lost touch with farming

A SCOTT River dairy farmer could be forced to fork out thousands of dollars from his own pocket to resurface a public road damaged by his crossing cattle.

Ross Woodhouse met with the Augusta Margaret River Shire last week after he said it demanded he pay between $7000 and $8000 to fund the repairs.

Mr Woodhouse has pursued legal action to recover the cost of the repairs.

According to the shire there had been ongoing community complaints about the amount of mud and excrement left at the cattle crossing on Warner Glen Road.

In a written statement the shire said it required Mr Woodhouse to apply for a license to use the road reserve at a cost of $58 per annum.

It said a condition of use was that Mr Woodhouse wash down the road after each crossing and install a flashing light in accordance with shire guidelines for stock crossings.

"He installed the flashing light and the hose and has washed the road, but not after every crossing, so complaints continue to be received," the statement said.

"The cattle mud and excrement on the road have created pot holes that now require major repairs.

"The sides of the road are covered in mud and excrement, some of which flows to a nearby watercourse.

"He has constructed a settling pond on the watercourse within his property, but its effectiveness is limited and it apparently overflows on occasions.

"Complaints about any other stock crossing in the Shire have been negligible."

Mr Woodhouse said the conflict started when he took up a nearby lease property four years ago which required him to cross cattle across the road for grazing on an irrigation pivot.

"Lots of people are up in arms over the manure on the roads," Mr Woodhouse said.

"We were given instructions from the shire to clean the road and we use a high pressure hose to clean it.

"The road is terrible and pot holes are repaired on a weekly basis because it is breaking down and our hosing has accentuated it."

Mr Woodhouse pays $25,000 in rates to the shire annually and has farmed in the area for 60 years.

He said he had received regular complaints from local residents.

"We have graffiti written on our car, we have had notes written on our milk sign, we've had people stop our workers," he said.

"There have also been complaints about us using machinery when we are loading silage or whatever we are doing because we start early in the morning.

"I guess it is the change in the demographics of the district, people have forgotten it is a rural setting and as a result they have lost touch with farming.

"The manure is not toxic, it is not something that is alien to the district, it is not something that if you drive steady that you can't wash off the bottom of your car."

Mr Woodhouse said the Margaret River Shire was too big and too focused on tourism and wine rather then the rural sector, including the dairy sector which was the most significant industry in the region.

"Our region is probably too hard for the shire to handle," he said.

"If they can't handle it, maybe there is an argument to change the boundaries, connecting Scott River or a shire that has producers' interests at heart."

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READER COMMENTS

farmed
8/08/2014 8:31:49 AM, on Farm Weekly

an average person in town pays $1500 rates. ross pays $25,000 rates and probably never uses the rubbish service, play ground, library, oval, rec centre, pool, playground, car park, public toilet.................. he does however use the road. maybe the shire should charge people when they dont scrub the dunny bowl the difference.
Chook
8/08/2014 7:35:50 PM, on Farm Weekly

This is country WA and if we choose to live in a farming area then we should accept that poo and mud are part of the scene. Farmers have it really tough coping with low prices and no subsidies. No wonder youngsters are not prepared to spend their lives slaving. Shires and government should be encouraging the use of our land for produce, meat and dairy and not putting up barriers. Do I mind waiting for cattle to cross the road? No, I am happy to live in the country and be a part of it all.
Beef man
8/08/2014 9:17:16 PM, on Farm Weekly

What a joke farmers are treated like peasants.

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