A KANIVA farmer who wrote a message to the drought in his wheat paddock hopes his actions inspired others to look out for one another.
Wal Meyer has used his header to write ‘f*** the drought’ in a poor performing wheat crop and Kaniva’s Colin Dyer captured the message with a drone.
Mr Meyer said he didn’t write the message because he was angry.
“It was meant to be a light-hearted thing, but then the hits it has received on Facebook have been apocalyptic,” he said.
“I was blown away with how it took off.
“I thought there might be a chance it would go viral and hopefully now that it has, people will see it either as a either bit of fun, or as something that shows the effects of the drought..
“The ramifications of the drought are that we are now all face little income for the next year, which is a long time to live on a reduced budget.”
Mr Meyer said the paddock he wrote the message in had been massacred by frost and heat.
“The greatly reduced rainfall and the drought was the final nail in the coffin for that paddock,” he said.
“If you know someone in the region, you should give them a call and see how they are going."
Mr Meyer said he hoped that anyone who saw it, that knew someone in the Wimmera, took the message on board.
“If you know someone in the region, you should give them a call and see how they are going,” he said.
“We need to keep the information flowing and keep looking out for each other.”
Mr Meyer said the feedback he had received so far had been phenomenal.
“It was quite unexpected, and for a 58-year-old farmer, it is something I’m not used to.”
Mr Meyer said he came up with the idea while he was harvesting.
“I structured in my mind how it would work and then I had a go at the first letter and it was easy,” he said.
“I used the auto-steer on the header for the straight lines and for the curved letters, I just winged it.
“It was a good result.”
West Wimmera is the only Victorian shire to be officially drought declared.
Kaniva received 189 millimetres of rain for the growing season, which was 126mm less than average.
The past 38 months have been the driest on record for the region.
Mr Dyer said it was great to be able to take a photo that summed up what all farmers were thinking.
“The season has been a real mixed bag this year,” he said.
“We have had well below average rainfall, but this photo shows that farmers aren’t giving up.
“What Wal did was pretty inspiring.”
Mr Meyer told the Mail-Times last month that the region had been the hardest hit with drought.
“Now everyone will have to batten down the hatches to survive with the little income received,” he said
He said he finished harvest in November for the first time in history.
“The quantity reflected the low rainfall we had,” he said.
“However, because of stubble retention and no-till farming, we were still able to get a harvest, even though the quantity was small.”
Mr Meyer said crops on rising soil were on par with expectations, but crops on black soil paid the price of the season.
“Those crops were hit with frost, dry conditions and everything was blasted by the hot weather we had,” he said.
“Yields varied from what we expected to zero.”