Dairy family unite to keep farm producing
FOR most city kids, their time after school is given over to fun and games - but not so for farming families.
The school bell signals the start of work for Brymaroo kids Alex, Alicia, Justine, Crystel and Sophie Weick.
"Every day when I get home, I take a tank down to our windmill to get water for our heifers because the dam is dry," Alec said.
The 13-year-old is the fifth generation of his family to work the land at Bymaroo. He said everyone chipped in.
"My sisters help mum milk, sort out the cattle and fix the fencing," he said.
"We are milking over 200 cows, and the evening milking finishes at about 7pm.
"At least we are making money. The milk price is low and that is hard for farmers."
The signs of drought surround the farm.
"I think 2016 is when I last remember there being green grass at the house," Alec said.
In a good season, the family farm is almost self-sufficient. Most of the pasture is given over to growing fodder while the Illawarra milkers lounge in a sheltered feedlot.
Lately, Alec's family called down as far as South Australia to source hey.
"Our winter and summer crops have been about half of what they should be, just enough for the cattle to have a pick off it," Alec said.