Fight for feed will only intensify as the drought rolls on

BONE DRY: Hand-feeding 700 Angus cows on a property just south of Coonabarabran.
BONE DRY: Hand-feeding 700 Angus cows on a property just south of Coonabarabran.

CARRIERS who are still bringing many loads of stock fodder from far away places tell of huge stocks that are diminishing rapidly.

Future supplies will become hard to find and costly to buy.

Many tonnes of big squares that have been in soil-covered bunkers are now being dug up and sold from lucerne growing properties that are many kilometres south of the Murray River.

A feature article from a British newspaper, The Guardian, depicts some starving sheep and a big herd of Angus cows being hand-fed on properties near Binnaway, NSW. The article describes the “worst drought in Australia in 1000 years”.

Supply and demand

MEANWHILE, the front yard of Bedwells, Vale Road, Bathurst contains many stacks of fodder hay that has been expensive for them to buy and is costly for us to buy, but it’s a credit to the Bedwells management to have sourced a good supply.

The 2017-2018 drought across much of four states is causing many tough decisions and a current sale of 1000 Merino wether lambs at a regular Bendigo sale is worth noting.

The sheep were bred on a property at Toobeah, near Goondiwindi, where 4000 19-micron ewes are joined to Leahcim rams each year.

The lambs were trucked 1300 kilometres over two days to Bendigo and sold in lots by Elders at prices ranging from $110 to $168.

Farewell to Martin

BREEDERS of Tattykeel Australia White stud sheep across many parts of south-east Australia are saddened to hear of the sudden death of the breed founder, Martin Gilmore. 

Martin was highly regarded in the sheep industry and will be greatly missed.

MANY HANDS: These ants can teach us a life lesson.

MANY HANDS: These ants can teach us a life lesson.

Community man

THE death of Bill Crawford of Kelso, and formerly of Hardywood Park, Caloola, brings an end to many years of his community involvement.

Bill contributed many years to Legacy, the Rural Lands Protection Board and Probus in our region.

His work with Elders and the NSW Law Court System is also noted.

Lunch and a laugh

BATHURST Merino Association has linked arms with Local Land Services and organised a farmers’ get-together at the new Perthville Hall on Sunday, August 19 with a noon start.

Pasture specialist with LLS, Clare Edwards, will conduct livestock feed quality tests, and producers are invited to bring samples of hay, grain or silage with them to the event.

Both organisations deserve thanks for putting this session together and country people are asked to just turn up for a friendly lunch, yarn, and a laugh.

LLS staffers have been right at the drought coalface for months and many producers are really grateful for the help and advice from their mates at LLS.

Hay samples for testing need to be two shopping bags full and grain needs two ice-cream containers. No pellets or pre-mix feeds, please.

Tests are free to Bathurst Merino Association members and the meals for humans are free (just BYOG).

Please bring mum, dad, the kids, grandpa and any rural people who would enjoy a day out.

LLS chairman Ian Rogan and his board must be proud of their willing band of indoor and outdoor staff.

An RSVP is essential for catering. Contact Kirby McPhee on 0401 402 351.

Judging coming up

DON’T forget the Bathurst Merino Association Merino Junior Judging at the Showground Ram Expo on Saturday, August 11.

It will take place from 10am to noon. Entry details from John Dwyer on 0427 324 435 or Kirby McPhee.

It’s a safe bet

FAIRFAX Agriculture Media deserves credit for its widely circulated soft cover booklet, Safe Hands, a national safety initiative.

This product concentrates on the importance of on-farm safety and many incidents that occurred because of a lack of concentration or perhaps rushing to get jobs done.

This booklet should be kept on the coffee table where family members may read it at quiet times and think of the risks that are taken every day. 

My most important helpers are grandkids and some are under 10, so farm vehicles are always backed into machinery sheds in case little people aren’t easily seen if large vehicles are backed out.

Please save your copy of Safe Hands; it may save a life.

Lacking a fight

THE first barbs of the 2019 state election for NSW have been thrown in recent days and to date no-one has raised their hand to oppose the Nationals’ Paul Toole for the Bathurst seat.

This seems a tall order to take on, yet the Bathurst seat was once seen as Labor heartland with members such as Gus Kelly, Mick Clough and Gerard Martin.

Meanwhile, Andrew Gee appears to be making the federal seat of Calare his own for some time.

Laugh lines

HIS hearing aids weren’t new any more and he sometimes missed a word. 

The speaker at a retirees meeting asked about ghosts.

“Have any of you seen a ghost, spoken to a ghost, heard a ghost?” he asked. 

“And one last question,” he said. “Has anyone slept with a ghost?”

Our old mate raised his hand.

He was called up to the front to explain, where he apologised.

“I’m so sorry, sir,” he said, “I thought you said goat.”

**

SHE and George were in the cafe and asked for two flat whites in cups, please.

“And make sure the damn cups are clean,” she added.

The shy young waitress arrived back at the table.

“Which one of you asked for the clean cup?” she asked.