Farmers grapple with fire losses

22 Mar, 2018 04:00 AM
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Russell McCann helps to move a neighbour's cattle off to better pastures after the fires. Picture: Rob Gunstone
It’s been a tough few years for dairyfarmers
Russell McCann helps to move a neighbour's cattle off to better pastures after the fires. Picture: Rob Gunstone

As burnt-out farmers grapple with the loss of their livelihoods, friends and family are pitching in to help.

It’s been a tough few years for dairyfarmers, Cobden Artificial Breeders’ Russell McCann says.

He was at a mate’s property on Monday, helping move stock from scorched earth to greener pastures.

Mr McCann said more should be done before the fire period to ensure blazes such as the Cobden one did not devastate properties.

He said burning off on roadsides should be a high priority.

“We need fuel reduction done sensibly, at an early stage,” he said.

He said roadside slashing shouldn’t be the option of choice.

Mr McCann said the fire was the last thing farmers needed, in the current economic climate.

As the mop-up continued at Cobden and surrounds, farmers were assessing burnt fences and moving cattle.

Others were sourcing hay and booking hire generators to operate their dairies.

Mr McCann said the fires were another blow to those in the agricultural industry.

“Dairyfarmers have been doing it tough for a long time now,” he said.

“Look, it hasn’t affected everyone right now, but it will in some way or another.

"I’d really like to see a little bit more support from all levels of government, of any political persuasion, towards agriculture.

"Milk prices were looking like dropping (before the fires) and there’s no grass.”

Mr McCann was at his house in Cobden on Saturday night and Sunday morning when the fires were raging.

“I live on the south side of Cobden,” he said.

“I noticed it (the fire) behind the Cobden factory early and within two hours it was south of us.

"I would say it travelled 40 kilometres in two hours. There wasn’t a lot of time for people to get anything.”

He said he would now look to help farmers in any way he could.

“I’ll help the farming community as much I can,” Mr McCann said.

“I’m giving a little bit of hay as well.

"I’ve got a bit for a few head of stock. I’ll give what I can.”

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