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Burrumbuttock Hay Runners deliver 5,000 bales to western Queensland's drought-affected graziers

By Lydia Burton, Saturday January 9, 2016 - 18:24 EDT
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The arrival of 120 trucks carrying 5,000 bales of hay to Ilfracombe was a sight for sore eyes for many drought-stricken graziers. - ABC

A convoy of 120 trucks has driven 1,800 kilometres to deliver almost 5,000 bales of hay to some of Queensland's most drought-stricken graziers.

The Burrumbuttock Hay Runners left Darlington Point in southern New South Wales on Thursday and arrived in Ilfracombe in western Queensland on Friday night.

Founder Brendan Farrell said after five months' preparation the 10th Burrumbuttock Hay Run has achieved its mission, providing hay for some 270 graziers.

"We bought an entourage of 250 people with us, support crews, mechanics, auto electricians, two up drivers," he said.

"It is just unbelievable how many people have wanted to be a part of it.

"It has been a hard slog but we got here and we got the hay here and we are helping the farmers and that is what it is all about."

Mr Farrell said seeing the drought firsthand had been overwhelming.

"I knew the conditions up here were bad but I didn't know it was this bad, so we have come to the right spot," he said.

Mr Farrell said all the hay, fuel and time was donated.

"The farmers need help, they are a forgotten mob out here," he said.

"At the end of the day if we don't have farmers out here breeding cattle and sheep...we are in a lot of trouble in 10 years' time.

"The way it is looking at the moment I don't think it will even be 10 years."

Mr Farrell said it was rewarding to see "smiles on farmers faces".

"We are not a registered charity, I am just a bloke with a truck and can get a shit load of hay," he said.

"If I have to see Australia by donating hay, bring it on."

Graziers overwhelmed by support

Grazier Ashley House travelled 150 kilometres from his property Fortuna station, north east of Aramac in central west Queensland, to collect some of the donated hay.

He said the drought had taken its toll.

"You are under so much pressure, you are always watching your animals," he said.

"As graziers you feel for your animals. In our case we have a lot of them calving and they are struggling to make enough milk for calves and you are really hurting for them.

"And the rain just won't seem to come, it hovers around but it just doesn't get there and that really hurts.

"I don't know how you thank them. The effort everyone has put in to doing this has been fantastic."

Drivers take time off to donate time and vehicles

John Doyle from Oaklands, New South Wales, was the lead truck driver of the 15-kilometre convoy.

He took time off from his harvesting contracting business to donate his truck and his time to help deliver the hay to drought-stricken graziers.

"I understand what these people are going through," he said.

"I think it is a mental thing, [knowing] there are people that care."

Alongside John was driver Kelvin Baxter from Berrigan, also in New South Wales.

He said the trip had been an unforgettable experience.

"It has been a little overwhelming," he said.

"The camaraderie, the fellowship, the goodwill between everybody, it has just been great.

"Coming through Barcaldine yesterday it brought tears to the eyes the overwhelming response that we had, it has been so worthwhile."


© ABC 2016

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