Drought woes hit hobby farm­ers too

Gatton Star - - YOUR SAY -

ONCE again, Aus­tralians are ral­ly­ing around drought-stricken farm­ers in our great coun­try’s south­east by do­nat­ing much-needed money for life’s ne­ces­si­ties and fod­der for their starv­ing an­i­mals.

It’s not just the farm­ers out west who are suf­fer­ing.

The knock-on ef­fect is lo­cals who own hobby farms in the district are now fac­ing the same dilemma as our west­ern coun­ter­parts.

Hay is scarce and peo­ple are now pay­ing up to $25 per bale – if they can get it.

The win­ter cold and the lack of rain has brought fod­der pro­duc­tion al­most to a com­plete halt.

The Lock­yer Val­ley food bowl in Queens­land’s south­east is well known for pri­mary food pro­duc­tion for an­i­mals and hu­mans alike.

The Lock­yer has also been in sig­nif­i­cant drought for over 12 months.

Fod­der pro­duc­ers have de­pleted their hay re­serves and cur­rent stocks are now be­ing redi­rected in an­swer to pleas for help from our farm­ers out west.

The re­di­rect­ion of our lo­cal hay sup­plies to our west­ern coun­ter­parts, in com­bi­na­tion with the cur­rent dry weather con­di­tions, have re­sulted in a hay sup­ply vac­uum which has caused lo­cal hay prices to sky­rocket.

The pre­vail­ing dry con­di­tions mean that there is lit­tle pad­dock grass which is usu­ally used to sup­ple­ment di­ets for live­stock.

No sig­nif­i­cant rain­fall events are pre­dicted in the near fu­ture and the need for fod­der to feed live­stock will in­crease.

Hay prices will con­tinue to soar, creat­ing a new cri­sis in house­hold eco­nomic dis­as­ter as the dis­tress­ing bur­den of try­ing to feed much-loved pets con­tin­ues.

All we can do is con­tinue to search the lo­cal dis­tricts for rea­son­ably priced hay and pray for much-needed rain. — Hobby farmer, Kens­ing­ton Grove

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