Eighty trucks will cart 2600 bales of hay to fire-ravaged Dunedoo this Saturday including about 40 trucks from Cootamundra.
Less than a week ago, Coota blokes Andrew Glover and Paul Manwaring joined most of the nation watching the bushfire coverage coming out of the Central West.
With Paul formerly from the area, they wanted to help and put the word out about a fodder run.
Interest exploded as farmers and truckies committed hay and transport.
Next they opened a bank account to help cover fuel for some of the trucks which has also been well supported.
Andrew said the response has been humbling.
“This is bigger than we ever expected,” he said.
While Cootamundra will be the starting point for the convey, other trucks will join the fodder run along the way.
Once they arrive, they will deliver hay to about 15 properties they know are in need with the rest to be distributed as necessary.
With the immediate danger of the fire having passed, there are amazing stories coming out of the district as farmers get back onto their properties to assess damage and losses.
Sheep and cattle which were so close to the fire their eartags have melted are being found alive.
These are the stock which will benefit from the generously donated feed.
It could be three months before the country restores enough to stop feeding stock and that is only if they get the Autumn break all will be watching for.
Most stock will have to be agisted elsewhere and it is this gap between now and when agistment can be organised the boys are targeting.
The Aussie spirit is strong as farmers commit what they can spare.
Some were burnt out by the 2007 fire in Illabo or the 2001 fire in Dubbo, others just know they could be next on a bad day.
“It could have been any one of us,” Andrew said.
Joining the run is a bloke from Emerald who will travel 1300km one way to deliver hay. Elsewhere, a Tottenham farmer has donated 700 square bales of hay; 14 trucks worth.
The convoy will leave Cootamundra’s Graincorp site at 8.30am sharp on Saturday after drivers are fed breakfast donated by Baz and Kaz’s Takeaway.
Behind the scenes assisting Paul and Andrew to coordinate the event are Paul’s wife Nat Manwaring, Andrew’s wife Peta Glover, Paul’s brother Adam Manwaring, Marty Colletts, formerly of Cootamundra and now living in Dubbo and Adrian Jones of Jones Transport.
A second fodder run will head to Dunedoo the following weekend for those transport operators who wanted to assist but were unable to this weekend.
Donations are still being accepted into the fuel fund to help get the trucks to where they are needed.
A bank account has been set up for the purpose of collecting these donations. Details are: Coota Hay Runners, National Australia Bank (NAB), BSB: 082536, Acc: 311866303.