Helping mainland farmers

One of dozens of trucks ready to journey thousands of kilometres to help out farmers affected by the New South Wales drought. Picture: Ashleigh Force.

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Appeal. Circular Head is digging deep to support farmers in need across New South Wales.

Drought is gripping New South Wales, parts of South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the nation this year endured its driest July since 2002. However in Tasmania, most of the state received above average rainfall.

Battling these harsh conditions, farmers are losing stock through lack of feed but a band of good samaritans from across the north west of the state are reaching out to lend a helping hand.

Trucking loads of hay to those who need it most, the group began small and has since expanded to more than a dozen people receiving hundreds of hay bales to cart interstate.

“We’ve had quite a bit of support from the Circular Head area, local farms both big and small have provided us with product and or equipment,” says Glenn Phillips, of Wynyard, one of many supporting the campaign.

“We’ve just had truckloads come from right across the north west, all donating their time and equipment as well as fuel to get there.”

On Tuesday, more than 640 round and square bales had been donated to the appeal with dozens of trucks signed up for the job of carting the feed across the Bass Strait and up to New South Wales.

Working with Lions Club International through its Need for Feed disaster relief program, locals are expecting to travel as far as Tamworth in the north east with their deliveries, carrying around 40 bales in a truckload.

The cost of hay averages around $70 to $80 a bale in Tasmania at the moment but with higher demand in New South Wales, this figure has increased exponentially.

“There is no hay left in New South Wales, they’re carting it in from South Australia and Victoria,” says Glenn.

Drivers will truck these bales some 2000 kilometres, a journey which will take more than three days, to reach their destination.

Classed as a hazardous material, the regulations surrounding shipping hay across the Bass Strait is a hurdle in itself.

“The shipping agents have been fantastic,” says Glenn.

“It’s tricky to get it on ships, because of the restrictions it becomes quite expensive for the companies since they have to leave so much space around the bales.”

The crew continues to take donations before departing this Saturday (August 11) and Sunday (August 12).

“I’d like to think if the boot was on the other foot they would help our community out.”

For more information or to donate, chat to Andrew Arnold, of Smithton, or Glenn Phillips, or go to www.needforfeed.org.

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