GETTING THROUGH THE DROUGHT: James Horton, Darren Johnson and John Towells help coordinate more than 2,000 bales of hay donations to Killarney.
GETTING THROUGH THE DROUGHT: James Horton, Darren Johnson and John Towells help coordinate more than 2,000 bales of hay donations to Killarney. Nicole Zurcas

Southern Downs farmers rejoice over rain and free hay

HUNDREDS of farmers across the Southern Downs made their way through the rain to Killarney today to pick up a free bale or two of hay.

A much needed delivery made its way from Brisbane by a convoy of trucks and cars carrying over 2,000 bales.

In the past few years the 4x4xMore motoring club formed a close connection to the people of Killarney and hearing of the sudden effects of drought hitting the region, they decided to act.

Club cooridnator, Darren Johnson said they wanted to help the Killarney community who care for them.

"We take regular drives to Killarney and camp here, the people are always so lovely and so we wanted to give something back to them,” he said.

During the month of August, for every car sold at Mr Johnson 4WD dealership in Brisbane, a bale of hay was donated.

"We raised enough to bring 2,080 bales of hay with us from Brisbane,” Mr Johnson said.

"Once word got out, more donation were coming in, which is what we wanted, we wanted people in the city to understand the help our farmers need.

"Donations were coming in on top of car sales and we are excited to announce we are also donating the QCWA a cheque for $10,000.”

Close to one hundred farmers from across the southern downs registered to receive a bale.

Brisbane hay supplier James Horton was astonished by the local response.

"I wasn't sure how things were going to go today, I can't believe how many locals turned up to help out,” Mr Horton said.

Sourcing hay from across the state Mr Horton said despite hard times, farmers have kept their cool.

"It is extremely tough at the moment, but when there's a will there's a way, and Aussie farmers will find that way,” he said.

A mixture of barley hay and grass bales, Mr Horton said the current Market price close to $17 per bale.

Farmers could also pick up pallets of dog food and food hampers donated by Food Bank.

Killarney Lions Club member John Towells assisted in coordinating the event and said his had an influx of farmers searching for hay.

"My phone's blown up with calls from people asking how to get free hay,” Mr Towells said.

"Every farmer has been so grateful and appreciative of the donation, which will help them keep fighting this battle.”