Convoy of trucks carrying thousands of bales of hay headed to bushfire-affected towns in the Wheatbelt
A convoy of trucks is set to deliver thousands of bales of hay to farmers in the Wheatbelt whose farms were devastated by three major bushfires that scorched 58,000 hectares of agricultural land.
Esperance organisation Farmers Across Borders is collecting donations of hay for delivery to bushfire-affected Wheatbelt shires.
At the bushfires’ peak, four towns were on red alert with residents told to evacuate or shelter in their homes.
Thousands of sheep and pigs are expected to have died with farmers and vets left with the agonising task of euthanising injured livestock.
Farmers Across Borders president Sam Starcevich said a dozen trucks would set off from Esperance and other regional towns headed for the Shire of Corrigin on Saturday.
“It’s just what we do,” she said.
“We are farmers and truck drivers ourselves and just want to help out where we can and alleviate a little bit of stress.
“It’s all donated feed.”
The donated hay includes oaten, wheat or barley straw from WA’s biggest-ever grain harvest of about 24 million tonnes.
Ms Starcevich said they were expecting to deliver between 1000 to 1500 bales of hay on the first trip to Corrigin.
“When we normally do our drought hay runs we have depots set up and people drop by and we offload from our trucks to theirs,” she said.
“Or we do a stockpile and people can come and pick them up.
“We do have other protocols in place when we are doing other donations. However, when it’s an emergency like this we will just take the feed in and whoever needs it can just come and grab it.”
Ms Starcevich urged farmers to accept the help.
“Don’t feel proud,” she said.
“Even if you think you don’t need it, just come in and get it to take a little bit of pressure off yourself.
“It’s not going to solve their issues and they will probably need to go and purchase more later, but it just alleviates that initial shock while you’re still dealing with it.”
Those pitching in early to help include:
* Mining company Rio Tinto who have donated 2000 bales of hay from its Marandoo and Nammuldi projects near Tom Price.
* Matic Transport has donated its services to deliver the hay from the Pilbara to the southern Wheatbelt.
* Nutrien Ag Solution have donated $20,000 to help cover fuel costs for the drivers..
To make a financial or hay donation, visit farmersacrossborders.com.au.
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