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Hay stolen from Shoalhaven beef farm as farmers face another threat from worsening drought

Jessica Clifford, Friday August 10, 2018 - 09:02 EST
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Security measures being installed on the shed hay was stolen from on the Carter's Shoalhaven farm. - ABC

A South Coast farmer has been left in limbo after the hay which was supposed to get her cattle through until summer was stolen.

Wendy Carter, who is a beef farmer at Cambewarra, a small village in the Shoalhaven area, had managed to buy hay from a supplier in Victoria and have it shipped to the family farm she has lived on all her life.

It was being stored in a shed on the farm and at first, no one realised it had been stolen.

The final delivery of hay was being delivered when the shed was opened and the family realised a large chunk was missing.

Ms Carter believes the thieves backed a truck up to the gates, jumped over the fencing, and threw the hay on the back before driving off.

She reported the matter to police, and despite a public appeal for information, no one has come forward with information.

"Maybe it was a matter of desperation," Ms Carter said.

"Maybe they didn't want to sell their cattle or their horses and they couldn't get it elsewhere.

"They thought it was an easy way to get it."

Difficult decisions ahead

The Carters must now decide whether to sell the rest of their herd or to try and push through with what they have and reassess in summer.

Ms Carter says she thought the family had enough to get through another couple of months using the hay they have left and supplements sourced from local suppliers. Beyond that she was uncertain.

She has already culled her herd of Angus beef cattle down from 700 cattle to just 100 breeders.

As a fourth generation farmer, Ms Carter said giving up was not something she wanted to do.

Her son Toby installed a security system at the shed to try and prevent further thefts.

They have also put up higher walls to try and stop people from climbing over.

Mrs Carter has been able to source food supplements for her cattle and planned to use the remaining hay to buy as much time as possible.

If it does not rain, the family, like many farmers around the country, will have to cull their cattle and think of something else to do with their land.


© ABC 2018

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