Hay convoy to help out WA pastoralists

Hay convoy to help out WA pastoralists

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This weekend many pastoralists will have their hopes restored as donated hay is set to be delivered to the Murchison and Gascoyne regions, which have endured drought for some time.

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THIS weekend many pastoralists will have their hopes restored as donated hay is set to be delivered to the Murchison and Gascoyne regions, which have endured drought for some time.

Through the effort of about 65 volunteers, 20 trucks - 10 double trailers and 10 triple trailers - will cart 1200 tonnes of feed.

The convoy will comprise 50 trailers loaded with about 40 large square bales or 25t of feed.

Western Australia-based charity Farmers Across Borders is co-ordinating the hay run and said WA was often forgotten and as the committee members are from WA, it felt that it was time to give its home State some love and attention.

The hay run will start in Esperance this Saturday, January 25, with receival points including northern Meekatharra/Kumarina, Meekatharra, Wiluna, Cue, Mt Magnet, Paynes Find, Leinster, Leonora, Laverton and Gascoyne Junction.

"We are ecstatic to receive over 50 applications for hay that will be delivered to 60 different stations," said Farmers Across Borders president Sam Starcevich.

"It is so important to recognise our own State - we have all had tough seasons and sometimes they last for an incredible amount of time.

"Having support from other people in different regions who really understand the hardship can make all the difference to your State of mind."

The charity had a set criteria for applicants to meet in order to receive hay, which comprised:

Have had below average or insufficient rainfall for at least three years, 36 months, (going off your nearest town Bureau of Meteorology data) or in a drought-declared area;

There is a threat to animal welfare;

Insufficient pasture to feed livestock or producers are now buying and transporting livestock feed.

Farmers Across Borders also had a reference to check details if clarity was required.

All applicants from WA were accepted and the only people turned down being from the Eastern States, as the charity doesn't have a run planned for the region as yet.

Declined applications have been held for future reference if it has a run planned in their region.

Farmers Across Borders said it asks for applications from selects specific areas and contacts locals for their insight on who would be the most in need for feed, rather than opening applications out to the whole country and choosing the most commonly applied for areas.

Recently the State government back-flipped on its policy to now show support for the hay run, by granting $25,000.

With fuel being the biggest cost, Farmers Across Borders said it costs about $3500 to fuel a truck for the trip, so the funds from the State government will fill about seven of the 20 trucks.

Esperance locals and visitors are encouraged to wave the crew farewell on their trip from lot 101 Coolgardie-Esperance Highway, 6 Mile Hill, Esperance from 7am for an 8am departure.

The hay run will conclude with an Australia Day celebration, hosted by Dust Off Depression on Sunday, January 26 at the Commercial Hotel, Meekatharra.

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