Devastating bushfires affecting Australian dairy industry

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

Bushfires in NSW and Victoria are raging out of control and affecting huge areas of the country. Pic: Getty Images/Daria Ni
Bushfires in NSW and Victoria are raging out of control and affecting huge areas of the country. Pic: Getty Images/Daria Ni

Related tags: Australia, Climate change

Dairy producers and processors are facing multiple challenges arising from south eastern Australia’s out-of-control bushfires sweeping across vast tracts of scrub, forest and farmland.

While some rain hit the ravaged area this weekend, there are also fears fires in Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) could merge.

Dairy Australia has regular updates for farmers​ on its website. It also has links to support programs​ for affected farmers in the Murray dairy region.  There is also a link for those wishing to donate to organizations​ battling the fires and offering support to communities.

Farmers in need of emergency fodder can call 1 800 814 647 for assistance.

Advocacy group Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said the group’s sincerest sympathies are extended to those people who have lost loved ones at this tragic time.

“Dairy cattle needed to be protected and milk production needed to be maintained despite the fact properties were cut-off without telephones and internet access and, in many cases, inaccessible to milk tankers,”​ Morgan said.

Morgan praised the resilience of dairy producers and thanked processors for maintaining milk delivery payments for milk that, in most cases, was being spilt on-farm where it was produced.

“We believe that across the industry, processors have shown great leadership and responsibility in financially backing their dairy suppliers during this massive environmental disaster,”​ he said.

“Dairy Connect urges processors to maintain milk supply payments until tanker access has been restored to all dairies and the crisis ends.

“Farmers are fighting back against totally unprecedented circumstances with crippling drought, a lack of water in the environment, heat records and destructive fires racing across the landscape.”

Morgan said many NSW south coast dairy properties have been hit by the ongoing disaster with loss of houses, infrastructure, machinery and valuable livestock.

“Properties that have been abandoned because of evacuations face an uncertain few days as the firestorm plays out,”​ he said.

“We continue to urge people to stay safe and to listen to the ABC and other media sources for the latest news as the bushfires continue to rage across our land.”

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