Hay holds mes­sage

Shepparton News - Country News - - OPINION - By Ge­off Adams

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.

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