HELPING those that may not help themselves is the focus behind a charity drought concert being held at Eudunda this weekend.
Concert organiser Don Bubner, from the Adelaide Plains Male Voice Choir, said the group talked about the dire farming situation east of Eudunda at the end of last year.
"One of our members, Murray Sauer, is a former farmer from the Eudunda area and said conditions in the region were the worst he had ever seen in his 70-plus years of farming," he said.
"Murray then took me for a drive through the area and it was quite the eye-opener to see where crops were sown and had amounted to nothing.
"Eudunda is inside Goyder's Line, these people would normally get a reasonable harvest, but headers were not taken out of the shed and no hay was baled.
"Those that still have stock have had to agist elsewhere or spend a lot of money buying in feed, while others have just destocked altogether.
"It's also been tough because some family members have had to leave to find off-farm income, some in far away places as there isn't a lot of work locally."
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Murray said 1982 was the last extreme drought in the region.
"And this is a lot worse than that," he said.
"With no ground cover, the area suffers from dust storms regularly, and any straw or manure out in the paddock just blows away.
"With ongoing costs and the cost of living, they will have minimal income until next harvest."
Don is a member of the Owen Community Church, which held a charity concert after the Pinery fires, which raised $92,000 in donations.
"Peep Hill Lutheran Church, east of Eudunda, helped us during the Pinery disaster, so we thought why not return the favour by helping those from their region," he said.
"We know there are many farmers in many areas suffering from drought, but we chose the Eudunda East area because it is local and isn't just this year, some have suffered through multiple years of drought."
The Adelaide Plains Male Voice Choir will perform at the event, along with local performers Caitlin Drew, Burra, and Polly & Chris, Eudunda, with light refreshments offered afterwards.
Tickets cost $15 (with children under 15 free) and a small raffle will be held, with all proceeds going to local families that derive all their living from the land.
James Sander is one such farmer from Peep Hill, who said in his 61 years, he had not seen the area look so bad.
"Because we didn't get any early rain, we put in less crop than usual, which was lucky because then it didn't amount to anything and we didn't even get the header out of the shed," he said.
"The area only received 192 millimetres for the year, but only 150mm during the growing season."
James said they also had to halve their flock - something that had never happened before.
"Trying to keep the breeding stock has meant a huge outlay on hay, as the small amount of feed that did grow was quickly eaten up by wildlife," he said.
"It will be very expensive to replace the sheep sold, if they're even available."
James said they had been fortunate to find agistment.
"We were also grateful to receive hay bales from the Buy a Bale program in October, while a kind farmer at Maitland donated some straw, which was shared with neighbours," he said.
"We may be in a bad drought, but there is some good that has come from it. The people you meet and are willing to help out, makes you feel very fortunate."
Don said they had already approached churches from Burra to Gawler, and Morgan to Mallala.
"We were mainly looking to fill the church, which seats 400 people," he said.
"But we have been very grateful that a lot have donated money as well."
The drought benefit concert will be held at 2pm in the St John's Lutheran Church, Eudunda, on Sunday, March 31.
- Details: Inquiries through Murray Sauer 0457 953 074