Fodder and agistment needed after fires devastate Victorian farms

GALLERY: Picking up the pieces after Gisborne, Riddells Creek fires

FODDER and agistment is urgently sought for hundreds of farmers afflicted by recent fires.

The Victorian Farmers Federation, Lions clubs and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries have joined forces to deliver hay to depots in Lancefield and Lindenow.

Agistment for cattle and sheep, and people to transport them, is also needed.

VFF president Peter Tuohey said Kilmore, Gisborne and Mickleham properties had been hit hard.

He said 460 small and commercial farms had been affected by the fires at Mickleham and Kilmore alone and more than 700 kilometres of fencing lost.

“There was significant damage to fencing and if you haven’t got fencing to keep the sheep and cattle in it’s very difficult to manage,” he said.

Bendigo region farmers who had spare fodder or room to agist stock were warmly welcome to contact the VFF, he said.

“If you’ve got spare fodder or agistment please give the VFF a call on 1300 882 833.”

Mr Tuohey said they needed large squares of hay, small squares and large round bales.

In the longer term securing fodder and agistment was the affected farmers’ responsibility, he said.

 “We’ve got limited resources and we’re heavily reliant on the efforts of Lions Club and VFF volunteers.”

Fodder is needed for farmers in the Mickelham, Kilmore, Lancefield, Gisborne andRomsey areas; Wunghnu and Bunbartha north of Shepparton; and the Yarram,Buchan, Orbost, Bonang, Lindenow, Gifford and Morwell areas of Gippsland.

Mary Horell, who owns Hillcrest Deer Farm, said she would welcome fodder donations.

Most of her 40-hectare farm was destroyed, although her house remains intact.

Many of her deer perished in the fire but at least 100 managed to escape and have since returned.

She said the deer were now on a small patch of grass that wasn't burnt by the fire.

She said while deer weren't big eaters, they required nutritious feed.

“Now that it’s over people have time to reflect on the devastating effects of these fires," she said.

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