EVERYWHERE you look the land is brown, newborn lambs are being abandoned by their mothers and there is only enough hay for another fortnight.
This is the grim situation facing Rockley Mount grazier Ann Fragar due to the widespread drought and late last week Network Ten’s The Project came to film the situation to bring it to a national audience.
The film crew brought along Rural Aid founder Charles Alder as well as Bathurst couple and ambassadors for the charity, Grant and Chezzi Denyer.
During the shoot, 37 bales of hay were delivered which will feed Ms Fragar’s stock for another six weeks.
Since the drought begun, Rural Aid has delivered similar loads of hay to struggling farmers across Australia.
Milestones Early Learning Centre in Bathurst contributed a car load of donated grocery items to the farm.
Ms Fragar is like many farmers, humble and shy to ask for help, yet she is struggling to feed her stock and put food on her own table.
Her 1200 acre property is bone dry and of her 1300 sheep, around 500 ewes are pregnant and giving birth, or just about to.
In a normal year, Ms Fragar said this was an exciting time – the birth of lambs means an income for the farm.
“It’s a nightmare now,” she said. “If they’re hungry [the ewes] they’ll just go for feed and look after themselves. The lamb dies.
“If they’ve having twins they might look after the stronger one, they just seem to know [which one], they’ll just leave the weaker one and it’ll die. We need as many as we can so we’ll have an income for next year, otherwise we’ve got nothing.”
Ms Fragar said it was simply impossible to hand raise all the lambs that were being born on her property.
And, with no decent rain predicted for the remainder of the year, she admits the farm’s was uncertain.
“You can’t think that far ahead otherwise you just give up,” she said.
It’s a nightmare now. If they’re hungry [the ewes] they’ll just go for feed and look after themselves. The lamb dies.- Rockley Mount grazier Ann Fragar
“We’d have to make some really hard decisions about what we do with some stock.”
Ms Fragar thanked the Rural Aid, the Denyers and The Project for bringing the drought conditions to a national audience.
The Project episode will air at 6.30pm on Monday, August 6.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.