Hay relief heads to Grafton

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Caniambo sheep and cropping farmer Locky Stedman, whose family donated a truckload of hay, with Wunghnu truck driver Scott Scrivens. Photo by Daneka Hill

Truckloads of hay left northern Victoria on July 7, on a one-way trip to flood-ravaged NSW farmers.

The hay run was organised by Linda Widdup from Aussie Hay Runners.

“There are six truckloads coming out of the Greater Shepparton area,” Ms Widdup said.

“We had an Invergordon farmer donate 600 small square bales of lucerne. There were also donations from farmers in Caniambo, Katandra and Yabba South, too.”

In total the hay run has shifted 1200 round bales, 630 small squares, 56 silage rolls and a small amount of mixed feed across 32 trucks and several vehicles.

Driving one of the Goulburn Valley truckloads up to NSW was Wunghnu owner-driver Scott Scrivens.

“The cows will be happy to see us, it kills them to eat mud,” Mr Scrivens said.

“I’ve got a demolition business in Melbourne and that’s how I know Linda. Before COVID we’d helped her do a drought relief hay run to Dunnedoo and now I’m donating some time again.”

A truckload prepares to leave Caniambo in northern Victoria on July 7 for the trip north to Grafton. Photo by Daneka Hill

While the July 7 hay run was largely pulled together by people Ms Widdup knows, awareness of her charity skyrocketed in the days before the hay run.

“My phone has been ringing flat out with farmers asking how they can help,” she said.

“No joke, I’ve had 35 calls today and I’ve had to tell them the hay run is fully allocated.”

The Stedman sheep and cropping family from Caniambo donated a full truckload of hay to the flood relief trip

They also supplied the hay for two extra truckloads purchased with donations.

The hay ended up in Grafton to feed animals across the Clarence Valley on the NSW north coast.

Ms Widdup said she chose the Grafton region because it wasn’t getting “slammed” with relief donations like Lismore was.

“At the moment that’s where we are targeting. It’s such a huge place that’s been flooded and it will take a very long time to get around to everyone.”

Ms Widdup said donations of hay, offers to drive and money donations were all appreciated.

“We can always buy hay and get it up there,” the Melbourne-based construction worker said.

Ms Widdup acknowledged the assistance of the Melton Rotary Club and the Rural Assistance Authority NSW.

Aussie Hay Runners is already planning the next trip for August 19.

They can be contacted through their Facebook page Aussie Hay Runners or by calling 0421 972 332.