Hay holds message
A Riverina farmer has made a point about water for irrigation using 86 large bales of rice straw hay.
Darcy Hare spent about six hours assembling the message ‘‘Water 4 drought relief’’ — alluding to the campaign by Speak Up to borrow environmental water so farmers can grow fodder for drought relief.
Darcy and his father Gary operate a mixed farm with rice, cereals and sheep at Tullakool, west of Wakool in NSW.
Darcy believes the Commonwealth Environmental Holder has enough water holdings to share with farmers so they can grow hay this season.
He can’t understand why the Lower Lakes near the Murray mouth are being flooded while NSW irrigators are desperately short of water and can’t even get an allocation so far.
‘‘The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder is the largest single entitlement holder.
‘‘We are flooding areas like the Lower Lakes and Gunbower Forest, while we are shipping in fodder from Western Australia and Tasmania.
‘‘The Gunbower Forest has been flooded for the last four years yet I have seen reports which suggest that natural flooding occurs only once in about every 10 years.’’
Mr Hare said if the persistent flooding created too much forest debris there was a danger of contributing to more blackwater events which had a negative effect on the environment.
He said water managers should not forget that water used for agriculture also had a contribution to the environment and there was plenty of evidence of the appearance of migratory birds, insects and frogs in rice fields.