Volunteers have delivered more than 70 loads of hay to farmers affected by last week’s Blackford fire.

Key points:

  • More than 3,000 bales of hay have been sent to farmers affected by the Blackford fire
  • Farmers thank the community for its donations and generosity
  • Hay run organiser says there will be another run in a month’s time

The Mount Gambier Hay Run left the city on Saturday with more than 3,000 bales of hay for farmers like Anthony Hurst, who runs a sheep and cattle stud at Avenue Range, which was badly burnt out.

Last week’s fire burned more than 14,000 hectares of farming land and killed about 6,000 stock.

Mr Hurst, from the Seriston Pastoral Company, said the generosity from farmers across the south-east of South Australia and western Victoria was “fantastic”.

He said people had also donated time, labour and machinery to support fire-affected farmers.

“[The hay run] has been a very big helping hand,” he said.

“Obviously with the loss of machinery around the district, farmers haven’t got tractors and access to hay, so that’s been a massive support.

Mr Hurst said he was already using the hay to feed the remaining stock on the farm.

“I’ve still got one mob [of sheep] here on the fire ground, that hopefully will go out in the next two or three days on to some agistment,” he said.

Anthony Hurst says the hay run has been a great helping hand.(Supplied: Anthony Hurst)

“All our cattle have gone out on agistment already, so it’s basically into the clean-up of fences and getting things back the way they were.”

He said he was hopeful stock would be able to return to the farm in the coming months.

“I’ve sort of said mid-May for our cattle because they start calving in six weeks’ time, so we’ve got to sort of wait for the calves to get old enough to truck back.”

“If we get opening rains, we’re going to hopefully have plenty of green grass, but to have that roughage to combine with the new season growth is certainly something we do need.”

Farmers now moving forward

Mr Hurst said he was focussed on the clean up.

“We’re starting to get our head around it and back into — not normal work — but as close as we can to doing fencing and maintenance,” he said.

Mr Hurst said he had to replace about 40 kilometres of fencing.

The wall of the Lucindale Hotel has been turned into a whiteboard for messages of love and thanks.(Supplied: Georgie McKay)

Continued support from locals

Mount Gambier Hay Run organiser Adam Smith said many people contributed to the event.

“We had 73 trucks so that’s probably 140 to 150 people there,” he said.

“You can imagine, drivers working all week, they’ve done 5,000-odd kilometres for the week, then you ask them to donate their time, and not one person said no,” he said.

Trucks rolled into Lucindale with the donated hay bales.(Supplied: Adam Smith)

Mr Smith said the hay delivery was just a short-term solution.

“About 70 farms were affected by the fire, so we’ve got enough there to keep them all going but this is only a band-aid for the moment,” he said.

“This should get them through a couple weeks, three weeks, maybe a month.