A devastated community in southern Riverina, NSW, has mobilized to bring home the harvest of Broughton Bird – who tragically died in a logging accident near Daysdale last week.
- Well-respected South New South Wales grain farmer Broughton Bird has died in cutting accident
- Mr. Bird’s community mobilized to strip 500 hectares of barley
- 15 pickers, 10 hunting bins and more than 20 trucks helped with the harvest for the Bird family
To help finish his harvest, farmers from Mr. Bird’s community arrived with 15 pickers, over 20 trucks and 10 hunting bins to strip his barley crop.
They harvested around 3,000 tonnes of barley from 500 hectares in a single day, with 60 people stepping up to get the job done.
Daysdale farmer Peter Hanrahan organized the team after overtaking Mr Bird’s barley crop and realizing it needed to be skinned before the rain fell.
“I walk past the barley crop almost every day and was worried that if it rained again it would lose quality and yield,” Hanrahan said.
A few phone calls later – to fellow farmer Colin Arnold and Denis Tomlinson of local football and netball club Coreen Daysdale Hopefield Buraja United (CDHBU) – and the wheels were moving.
‘Good farmer and good guy’
Broughton Bird, 66, was a large landowner in Daysdale, Coreen and Rennie districts and was one of the first to embrace no-till farming and major on-farm grain storage.
“He was a very good farmer. He opted for no-till farming exceptionally and he went all out,” Hanrahan said.
“He was a quiet successor – when he was doing something he wasn’t loud about it, he was just doing something on the side.
The high esteem in which Mr Bird was held was reflected in the number of people who showed up on harvest day to show their support for his grieving family.
“Once word got out about it, I didn’t have to do anything because people just called and offered to help,” Hanrahan said.
“There were people who didn’t even know him and who offered to help,” he said,
Mr Hanrahan said members of the CDHBU football club were preparing lunches for everyone, and trucking companies had also sent trucks to help on the same day.
Attention to detail essential
The goal of stripping the Birds’ barley crop in one day was to ensure that farmers did not have too much time away from their own farms during the busy grain harvest. However, no one was rushing.
“Knowing that Broughton was an agriculture perfectionist, we wanted to get the job done right, and not speed up and rip on it. Everyone knew what he liked,” Hanrahan said.
Mr Hanrahan said Mr Bird was a trendsetter and had set up a large on-farm grain storage complex at his farm in Rennie, which was of great help when he there were 15 pickers to strip.
“There aren’t many farms that would be able to process 2,500 tonnes of grain on their own farm in a day,” he said.
“He was a hard worker and he is honored for what he has accomplished.”
Mr Hanrahan said Mr Bird’s sons helped that day by weighing the trucks and sampling the grain at the grain complex.
“Seeing them helped boost everyone’s morale,” he said.
“The family is happy with what we’ve done and it’s a big load on their shoulders.