Fire Relief 2020 - “The people up here in the Upper Murray need help and they need it quickly"

28/01/2020

As part of PFG Australia’s "Fire Relief 2020" program, Deutz Fahr and Kioti tractors were trucked up from our dealer in Wangaratta on January 21 to the Victorian Farmers Federation relief centre in Corryong. It was the next phase of the roll out of tractors and machinery across the regions of Australia most badly impacted by the recent bushfires. 

The scarred backdrop of the relief centre at Corryong, as well as the torched surrounding countryside coming into the Upper Murray region, provided stark reminders of the destructive force of the fires to the PFG team members who accompanied the delivery. 

“It was remarkable to see what the fire hit and what it left behind,” said Doug Robinson, GM of Ag Division. “The intensity and impact of the fire, from what we’ve seen with some of customers, was obviously devastating. So we dropped off a Deutz Fahr 5105.4G with a loader and hay forks to help distribute the hay and straw coming up from the rest of the country.” 

Once the tractor was on the ground, rangers and the VFF representative coordinated the moving and distribution of bales. A steady procession of farmers and landowners in small trucks and utes filed into the relief centre to ask for help. 

“Generous people have been trucking hay up into Corryong,” said PFG dealer Brendan Breen of McGregor Machinery in Wangaratta. “The people up here in the Upper Murray need help and they need it quickly. It’s pretty confronting to see the houses, sheds and infrastructure lost. They’ve got a long way home.” 

The team then moved on towards Cudgewa, with a Kioti 1052 in tow. The next stop was the farm of local identities Graham and Barbara Costello. The fire roared in towards the Costello property from the north and swept through the place. Once again, the scale of impact was plain to see – likewise the sheer randomness of what caught hold and what was undamaged.  

“I’ve lost a tractor, a slasher, a hayshed, machinery shed and shearing shed,” said Graham. “As far as livestock is concerned, I’m about ten or twelve head of cattle down. Until we know what their feet do, we won’t know until another three or four weeks. But I consider myself extremely lucky. The fire has gone around the house, both sides. My tractor was destroyed but a few feet away the chookshed was untouched!” 

As the PFG team was given a tour of Graham’s property the Kioti was backed off the truck and set up for use. A heavy duty borer was provided in addition to the tractor. It will be used by farmers in the district to aid the all-important task of replacing fences and posts. 

“Clearly Graham’s farm was impacted severely and one of his tractors effectively melted,” said Doug Robinson. “That has been replaced already and we also dropped off a Kioti 1052 to help with fencing and the distribution of hay around the district. 

“Graham will need to re-seed and look after his remaining cattle, and I got the impression the true Aussie spirit will come out because he wants to start rebuilding straight away. He welcomed our support and we’ll help him further down the track as well. We’ll do that for the surrounding farmers where we can – it’s going to be a long process.”