CASH, care packages and ‘cow parking’ are being offered to dairy farmers in fire-ravaged districts of southeastern Australia as the bushfires blaze on.
An early estimate by Dairy Connect projects 70,000 head lost, a figure likely to grow in coming weeks, with the NSW south coast at the epicentre of livestock deaths.
The Sydney-based group estimates 40 farms have been hit in NSW with roughly a dozen in Victoria also impacted by the fires.
Bega Cheese and Saputo have agreed to assist with cow parking arrangements, Dairy Australia confirmed this week.
Dairy Australia animal health and fertility chief Stephanie Bullen said farmers with milking cows requiring relocation, or farms able to offer cow parking, should contact Bega and Saputo directly.
“Not all farms and herds are suitable, but when they are, and when the need arises due to the bushfires, cow parking can be an option,” Dr Bullen told The Weekly Times.
“While there have been a number of farms directly impacted by the fires, there have also been farms that have not been burnt but they’ve been without power for some time due to outages associated with the fires.
Dr Bullen noted that cow parking carried a risk of introducing mastitis bacteria or other animal diseases and should be avoided wherever possible.
However, she said the bushfires meant the method was the only viable option for some primary producers to get their livestock milked.
Meanwhile, milk processor Burra Foods will donate more than $50,000 to help those hit by the Victorian bushfires.
The money will go to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal and it includes proceeds of the production run at Burra’s Korumburra plant last Friday, as well as a barbecue fundraiser and staff contributions.
Burra Foods chief executive Stewart Carson said the processor will run another fundraiser over the coming fortnight.
“Unfortunately, Victoria’s bushfire season is far from over and it will take many months and even years for communities to fully recover,” he said.