Australia — Fire-affected farmers in western Victoria are on the hunt for land to agist around 18,000 sheep.
It’s been a week since a 5000-hectare blaze at Moyston killed about 5,000 sheep when it tore across more than 90 properties.
The Victorian Farmers Federation has been inundated with offers of fodder to help surviving livestock recover.
Charlie de Fegely, a farmer from the neighbouring town of Ararat, says it’s crucial to get the sheep out of burnt paddocks.
“The one issue we’re really having a little bit of problem with is trying to get the remaining 18,000 sheep in the fire zone into a spot where the owners can actually work on their properties, rather than looking after sheep and feeding them,” he said.
“Agistment is what we would really appreciate and we are half hoping we might have some luck with feed and water with the weekend’s weather events.”
The Ararat and Tatyoon VFF branch launched a feed, fencing and water drive in the aftermath of the fires.
The state and federal governments last week announced emergency relief grants, with up to $32,000 available for affected households.
Mr de Fegely says farmers hope to agist their stock for four to five weeks to rebuild fencing and source feed.
“Having driven over the fire zone, some of the fire was extremely hot and I don’t think the pasture is going to come back much there,” he said.
“That country might have to be resown because very little pasture will grow.
“If the stock can be kept off, it is going to reduce the damage further and will give producers an opportunity to really assess what might come back.
“And if it does come back, then they don’t want it to be eaten and [need to] give it time to regrow.
Mr de Fegely has urged people wanting to help with the recovery to call the Ararat Rural City Council on 5355 0200 and the VFF on 1300 882 833.