Earlier this year, farmers in Gippsland were losing as much as 70 percent of their regular income. This was caused by a lack of rainfall and weeds due to green drought. Casey Willis, Rodwells Sale agronomist, explained that green drought refers to the type of drought that has a green cover but with no actual growth coming from any desirable pasture species. However, this is not the only problem they are facing.
On September 17, an artificial insemination facility at Yarram Herd Services, Australia was completely burned down even before the Country Fire Authority came. At least 100 cylinders were destroyed, costing thousands of dollars.
|Photo Credit: @BonnieBarkmeyer on Twitter (via Unilad)|
The bull semen had been stored at the facility for the past two decades. With the disaster, dairy and beef cattle farmers within the area will be negatively affected. Unfortunately, the reason why the fire happened hasn’t been determined yet. Unilad, a British Internet media company and website owned by LADbible Group, reported that it took about 10 fire crews to get the fire under control. Aside from the bull semen, there were other flammable liquid cylinders stored within the building that ignited the fire.
|Photo Credit: Newsweek|
Chris Loeschenkohl, Country Fire Authority Gippsland commander, said, “The liquid inside the cylinders was rapidly expanding and essentially the lids of the cryogenic cylinders were just popping off the top and projectiles were being thrown from the building. So firefighters went into a defensive mode initially to protect themselves, because there were also LPG cylinders at the neighboring property, and they did a magnificent job.”
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According to an article by Newsweek, an American weekly news magazine, Aaron Thomas, Yarram Herd Services Committee Vice Chairman, stated that the cylinders were worth $500 and $1,000 per unit. This will be a huge blow for the farmers since the tanks contain substantial amounts of semen. "So this is significant damage and it is going to have a flow-on effect on Yarram, especially after the drought that Yarram district has experienced over the last 12 months,” he said.