Fodder drive eases Poolaijelo fire victims feed worries

Gregor Heard
By Gregor Heard
January 5 2022 - 6:00am
A fodder drive will allow farmers hit by fire near the Vic / SA border to feed livestock after the blaze burnt pastures.

THE RURAL community has banded together to aid farmers in far western Victoria hit by a bushfire last week.

Dunrobin, near Casterton, farmer Rob Pilmore has organised a fodder drive to provide feed for livestock after around 6500 hectares of farming country, together with bushland, was burnt in a fire that swept across from Wrattonbully, in South Australia through the Poolaijelo and Langkoop districts south of Edenhope.

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The fire killed thousands of sheep and cattle and caused tens of millions of damage to local properties, including farms and timber plantations.

Firefighters narrowly avoided the flames taking out local public buildings, such as the Poolaijelo Hall.

"We've been targeting hay for people with properties that have been burnt out and we've had a fantastic response," Mr Pilmore said.

"The hay is going into places where people have got their stock in containment yards while they sort out fences and issues like that," he said.

Mr Pilmore said there had been generous donations from across Victoria and South Australia.

"We've got offers from everywhere, it is fantastic, we've probably got pretty much enough now so it has been a great response.

"It is not a huge big operation organising a massive convoy of B-Doubles full of bales but we've managed to get enough to ensure the animals are OK."

He said there had been an especially good response from farmers in the Lucindale, SA, district.

"When Lucindale had the fires a couple of years ago a lot of people from Poolaijelo helped out, so the Lucindale farmers were very keen to reciprocate, it shows the community spirit in rural areas is alive and well" he said.

Mr Pilmore said the fire had moved fast through open grassy country and then thrown a curveball for fire fighters when the wind changed direction.

"It burnt south-east from Wrattonbully when the wind was in the north-west, then we had a southerly change and that is when it got close to the Poolaijelo township," he said.

"There was a bit of luck in that a fire fighting aircraft was being moved from Perth to Melbourne for the summer and happned to be travelling pretty much over the top of the fire when it happened, fully loaded, so it was used and helped control one line of the fire," he said.

Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

National Grains Industry Reporter

Gregor Heard is Fairfax Ag Media's national grains industry reporter, based in Horsham, Victoria. He has a wealth of knowledge surrounding the cropping sector through his ten years in the role. Prior to that he was with the Fairfax network as a reporter with Stock & Land. Some of the major issues he has reported on during his time with the company include the deregulation of the export wheat market, the introduction of genetically modified crops and the fight to protect growers better from grain trader insolvencies. Still involved with the family farm he is passionate about rural Australia and its people and hopes to use his role to act as an advocate for those involved in the grain sector. Away from work, he is a keen traveller, having spent his long service leave last year in Spain learning the language.

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