'It gets you down day after day, seeing hungry stock'
A BIT of rain might have sprouted some green shoots recently, but the brutally hot, windy conditions that have hit the region this week have sent drought-stricken farmers right back to square one.
Fifth-generation Thanes Creek farmer Andrew Costello said he's never seen the waterway as dry as it is right now, echoing the statement of producers around the state declaring this drought the worst they've seen.
"It gets you down day after day, seeing hungry stock and you don't know when it's going to lift,” he said.
Mr Costello was one of the grateful recipients of hay bales donated by Olsens Produce given out in a bale delivery at Rodgers Creek this morning.
Eighty bales along with trucks and fuel to the value of $8000 was donated by Warwick business Olsens Produce to help with the drought relief effort.
The delivery was organised by Cynthia and Jamie McDonald, who are also beef farmers battling through the devastating dry.
Mr Costello is a full-time farmer who has 120 cattle and 1700 sheep to care for on his land.
The 10 bales he picked up this morning will likely last him about one week when combined with the feed he already has at the property.
Mr Costello said he had a bit of a reprieve in October when some rain finally fell, but the relief hasn't lasted with hot, windy conditions.
"I've never known wind like it, we're almost back to where we were,” he said.
"We get a slight reprieve but we can't string a couple of good seasons together.”
Two years ago Mr Costello put in two new water bores with the help of the emergency water rebate.
Bores are an option other farmers are looking into as dams dry up but it comes with a cost of between $5000-$10,000 to install, not including equipping it.
Mr Costello said he'd hate to think where the property might be if it didn't get drenched by rain in the coming months.
"It's very bleak for winter if you don't get decent rain, we need a major break,” he said.
Mr Costello heard about the hay delivery from Cynthia McDonald, who lives not far down the road from him.
As did Kieran Doherty, who said he was lucky to have a job in Warwick to supplement his income from his farm.
But he wants to keep the Greymare farm in the family for his three sons and two of them, Hayden and Riley, were on hand to help him pick up hay this morning.
"Everything at the moment goes back into feed for the cattle,” Mr Doherty said.
"Everyone's dams are pretty much dry.”
Mrs McDonald has organised multiple deliveries since June, saying the western and southern parts of the Southern Downs were the hardest hit.
"We've got a lot of farmers out here that would give their left arm because there's just none (hay) around,” she said.
"Hay is like gold for farmers at the moment trying to keep their stock alive.”
Mrs McDonald said the donation given by Olsens Produce was significant because it was the first major donation from a local business to the drought deliveries.
"He (Ian Wallace) is doing his best to support the community that supported him for years,” she said.
Mrs McDonald said she was in the process of sourcing more loads for people who weren't able to be helped this morning.
If you're able to assist, phone Michael Bell on 0487 301 898.