Charities donating bales of hay and fodder to drought-affected farmers in New South Wales and Queensland are sourcing the majority of their stock from southern Australia.
Buy a Bale and Need for Feed have purchased hay and fodder from farms in northern and western Victoria, parts of Gippsland, and also from South Australia.
These are the parts of the country that haven’t been as badly affected by the drought and still have the capacity to sell feed.
Rural Aid Australia chief executive Charles Alder, who runs Buy a Bale, said 10,000 bales of hay have been donated in the last six months, a number that is continuing to grow. That’s helped about 400 farmers in the Hunter Valley, NSW, and regions in the centre of the state.
“People from all over the country donate to Buy a Bale, then we use that money to buy hay from hay farmers, with the idea of supporting their businesses and the local community too, and then donate that to the farmers in drought,” Mr Alder said.
He said they would have liked to have been able to help more farmers, but limited supply and high prices have limited their ability to do so.
Need for Feed organiser Graham Cockerell said they normally transported donated fodder, but in the last three months have had to source and purchase their own using financial donations from the public because their usual sources have “dried up”. Mr Cockerell said operating in the current market place, with high prices, had been difficult.
“It makes us look further and harder for it, and maybe not through established sources,” Mr Cockerell said.
Hay has been sourced from areas around Hamilton and Horsham, as well as across the border into south-east South Australia. In what is a first for the charity, they are currently transporting about 650 bales on 14 trucks that have been shipped from Tasmania.
Related: Hay stocks running on empty
“We provided hay into Tasmania a couple of years ago to dairy farmers struggling with prices, so some of those guys are returning the favour now,” he said.
This shipment is headed to the north-east corner of NSW, but he said donations so far have gone far and wide throughout the state.
To donate or volunteer, head to www.buyabale.com.au or www.needforfeed.org.
Green Lake farmers Leigh and Sam McGennisken are volunteers for Burrumbuttock Hay Runners and are collecting hay from Wimmera producers for the group’s next hay run.
Leigh McGennisken can be contacted on 0427 837 519.