The local pet food store was apologetic. "Sorry we have had to put up the price of hay," read the sign taped to the register. "$19 a bale." It's been a terribly dry season and feed for livestock is scarce. In past years, we've been able to pick up hay for the chook shed at $5 a bale. This year, anyone with bales for sale was really "making hay", as the saying goes.
It's been very tough for farmers, not just in Tasmania. Today I read this great story about a guy from Leeton in NSW who has organised 11 volunteer convoys of road trains carrying $10 million worth of donated hay for farmers doing it tough over the past two years, simply because it was "the right thing to do". Brilliant. I hope that this year the grass will grow and feed will be plentiful. The weather man on ABC Radio's Country Hour program said last week that we're expecting "above average" rainfall in Tasmania over the next few months. I love the sight of freshly baled hay drying out in the paddocks. These ones were in a friend's field down the bottom of our road at Christmas time.
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