Wagga farmers, businesses and South Wagga Rotary Club have pitched in to help flood-ravaged North Queensland properties feed their surviving cattle.
Simon Moloney, a grain grower from north-east of Wagga, and his father Eugene set off from Cootamundra on Saturday morning for a 2100-kilometre journey to the flood’s ‘ground zero’ at Julia Creek.
The cargo on their B-Double truck was two trailers of high-energy calf feed pellets to mix with hay.
“We were talking to a few people up there and they were having a pretty hard time and were a bit short,” Simon said.
“They had hay but high-energy pellets would be of value so we though we’d try to get a load of pellets together.
“The pellets are like a ration for livestock that they can mix with hay.”
Conqueror Mill Cootamundra manufactured the pellets with Croker Grain and the Moloneys borrowed trailers from Ron Crouch Transport and Shearers Transport to hitch on to their grain truck.
One farmer near Julia Creek had received 34 inches of rain since January 31.
Farmers had welcomed the initial lighter rain after several years of drought conditions but the resulting floods have killed an estimated 300,000 cattle in North Queensland.
“The farmers have been hugely hit by the floods,” Simon said.
Simon said the Lions Club at Julia Creek would take delivery of the pellets and start distributing them to properties with starving cattle under the supervision of a nutritionist.
“We just thought we should do something. I was going to go up with the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners but I couldn’t get organised in time,” he said.
“Dad was talking to some people he knew up there and they said pellets would be more suitable.
“Local farmers have chipped in and local businesses have donated money for fuel and pellets; we’ve paid for half the cost of the trip.”
South Wagga Rotary Club is accepting cash donations for the trip.
Simon said he was heartened by the generosity of Riverina farmers.
“We haven’t had a great year but the scale of what has happened up there is beyond our experience,” he said.