Faye Smith, retired teacher, journalist and drought officer, talks about articles written by farmers for the Wimmera Mail Times newspaper, and the types and impacts of drought in the Wimmera.
Further InformationTRANSCRIPT OF DROUGHT STORIES INTERVIEW EXCERPT 6
Faye Smith: So, I chose, about 30 people from right around the readership area, most I had known or were related to people that I knew, and asked them if they would write a column, once every five or six weeks, and so we started “In My Paddock”, and so every week we had five farmers, contributing about their farm and what was happening, on their farm.
One of the reasons I did it was because it was a common concept that farmers are always grizzling about something, and I knew that farmers had very good reason, to be concerned about many things.
Oh many townspeople didn’t understand that if you didn’t get rain when you needed it, during the growing season, that wasn’t going to help your crop.
They didn’t understand that if the silos closed at the time when you wanted to deliver your grain, that was another problem, particularly if there was a storm coming.
They didn’t understand that the cost of fertiliser was rising and that marketing was becoming a difficult issue.
So farmers could write about whatever they wanted to write about. So of course during 18 years, at the Mail Times, we covered many droughts. But oh the, as the years went on the effect of droughts seemed to alter, on, people, and communities.
Of course you can have different sorts of droughts, there can be drought because of lack of rain, there can be a drought because of too much rain at the wrong time, there can be hail storms which will devastate a crop, there can be rain and wind, which can put the crop on the ground, and then of course rain can come, and the grain can all shoot, so it can’t even be used for stock feed.
Hot weather, as we’ve seen in 2009, in the Wimmera, Southern Mallee, hot weather can come, and cook the grain, in the pod, so this has been particularly bad, for Horsham area,
Further north, Warracknabeal, Hopetoun, the grain was further advanced and so, didn’t have the same effect, but incredibly hot days, a string of 10 or more days of high 30s, low 40, degrees, and the pods, of wheat, barley, and particularly lentils, have cooked, and so, either half the grain, or half the harvest, or ruined the grain, so the prices, if it’s saleable, the prices are much lower.
Copyright held by the State Library of Victoria and the Horsham Historical Society. This interview excerpt can only be used for research purposes and must not be reproduced, copied or published in any form without the permission of the Copyright held by the State Library of Victoria and the Horsham Historical Society.
Drought Stories interview excerpt 6: Faye Smith talks about the impact of drought on farming in the Wimmera,
Faye Smith, interviewer,
MP3 file, 2 mins: 49 secs, 2009,
Horsham Historical Society collection
Horsham Historical Society Inc
This interview excerpt can only be used for research purposes and must not be reproduced, copied or published in any form without the permission of the State Library of Victoria and the Horsham Historical Society.
Copyright held by the State Library of Victoria and the Horsham Historical Society.