BAILED UP: Robyn Cooke (middle) with local Buy a Bale organiser Ray Hayes (right) and Fay Gallagher (left), the winner of the holiday at Tracks End Retreat in the Valley.
BAILED UP: Robyn Cooke (middle) with local Buy a Bale organiser Ray Hayes (right) and Fay Gallagher (left), the winner of the holiday at Tracks End Retreat in the Valley.

Valley bales bring relief to farmers

ONE old farmer said he hadn't seen a drought like this since the '40s.

A woman said her family was doing it so tough they had to siphon water from abandoned properties just to keep their cattle alive.

Others have already given up.

But despite tales of utter struggle and tragedy, the vibe was optimistic as the Clarence Valley crew rolled into Pilliga at the weekend with five road trains, or 330 bales, of silage for farmers who are bordering on breaking point.

Robyn Cooke was one of the instigators of the trip and she said the people of Pilliga were overwhelmed

the Clarence Valley community had chipped in to buy the number of bales they did.

"They were just overwhelmed by happiness," Ms Cooke said.

"There were lots of hugs and kisses and I'm just glad I had dark sunglasses on all day because I had tears in my eyes the whole time with happiness."

Ms Cooke said the drop-off was a chance for the community to get together and share a yarn or two as well as take home some much needed stockfeed.

"It brought the community together so they know they're not alone and it really lifted their spirits," she said.

"By the end they were all in their groups talking and laughing and having a sausage with people they hadn't seen in a long time."

It worked out the farmers got about seven silage bales each to ease the burden on them and allow them to spend money on other necessities while they continue to tackle the big dry.

"Even though they have had rain out there and the paddocks are a little greener, it's mostly little weeds coming up but no feed," Ms Cooke said.

"There are still farmers without water in their tanks and dams are all dried up or running dangerously low.

"Seeing the land out there it is clear that it's going to be a long time before it recovers, but at least we could help a little bit."

Ray Hayes, who took the loads out to the drop-off point from Grafton and Moree said the experience was extremely humbling.

"I found it hard to speak too many words out there, but thinking back to some of the notes people who bought bales wrote to give to the farmers just tears you apart," Mr Hayes said.

"You just run out of words."



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