Farmers band together to donate hay and silage to bushfire-affected farmers in Denmark

Isabel VieiraAlbany Advertiser
Trees on fire west of Denmark.
Camera IconTrees on fire west of Denmark. Credit: James Alkins/RegionalHUB

Farmers around the region are banding together to donate hay and silage to Denmark producers whose paddocks were ravaged by fire this month.

The Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee has partnered with the Shire of Denmark to put together a registry of farmers in need of livestock feed and a registry of those willing to donate.

WICC executive officer Shaun Ossinger said most of the land burnt by the bushfires was agricultural farmland.

“There are farms that had nearly their entire paddocks burnt down and several of them have even lost their hay and silage that had been stored up to use at this time of year,” he said.

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“We have a drought that happens every single year and it’s actually kind of unique the way we lock up paddocks and store silage through the dry summer months.

“A lot of farmers lost their hay and silage and even their paddocks, so they have nothing for their livestock to eat.”

Firefighters fought the Denmark blaze.
Picture Denmark Volunteer Fire & Rescue Service
Camera IconFirefighters fought the Denmark blaze. Picture Denmark Volunteer Fire & Rescue Service Credit: Denmark Volunteer Fire & Rescue/Denmark Volunteer Fire & Rescue

So far about 180 bales of hay have been donated towards the target of 500 for the livestock feed appeal.

Mr Ossinger said they were seeking hay and silage that was free of weeds.

“A lot of these farmers are putting their cattle on adjacent properties, so they are using other farmers’ land to keep their cattle in because they have lost a lot of their fences,” he said.

“So the last thing they want to do is introduce weeds from hay and silage on to those properties.

“Silage is often better because the process of making the silage tends to kill the weeds.”

Tightly-rolled hay bales.
Peta Murray
Camera IconTightly-rolled hay bales. Peta Murray Credit: Supplied

Mr Ossinger said the donated hay would allow farmers to keep their livestock.

“What will happen if we don’t do this is the farmers who lost their fences and their grass or their pasture are going to have to de-stock and sell their cattle because they won’t have any feed to give them, so it really puts them behind the eight-ball,” he said.

“The price of cattle is quite high so it will be really difficult for them to rebuild, put their fences up and also buy more cattle later.

“If we can get them though these lean times now it will allow them to get back on their feet.”

To join the feed registry or to donate, visit wicc.org.au.

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