South Coast dairy farmer saves herd as fire roars through his property

All it took was 10 minutes for dairy farmer Robert Miller to have half of his South Coast farmland wiped out by fire.

As he got his 1000 head dairy herd to safety where they stood on concrete under sprinklers, Mr Miller made sure he was prepared for what was to come.

"It hit the farm at 1pm and it was all over by 1.10pm, it came through very fast," Mr Miller said.

"It was ferocious, it was catastrophic.

"We had done all the preparation we could have, we had the equipment and water in place but we lost power so we had to use generators to power everything."

The fire destroyed 161 hectares of pasture - half of his farmland near Milton.

And he still doesn't know the fate of 400 of his replacement heifers that were at Cobargo.

But the worst is far from over as they brace themselves for similar conditions, which are expected on Saturday.

In the meantime they are dumping milk as they can't get diesel to "run tractors to run the generators to run the dairy".

"We have generators to milk so we are rationing the diesel."

But the fire is not out and they need diesel brought inurgently and fodder.

"If we have to fight fires again, it's going to be a tough call," he said.

For the past eight weeks they have been buying a semi-trailer truck load of fodder every day to feed the herd.

"We can't get trucks in and we lost a lot of silage, we have a lot of round bales that have been burned," he said.

'We have a bit of fodder on hand but not much."

Robert Miller at his property before the fire.

Robert Miller at his property before the fire.

Unless it rains, he will be selling heifers on the export market as he won't have the feed.

"I need animals as replacement but don't have a choice now," he said.

To add to his burden is the fact he his not eligible for drought assistance as he lives in a coastal area.

Mr Miller said according to the desertification maps he was in a high rainfall coastal areas making them not eligible for assistance even though the Department of Primary Industries drought maps say otherwise.

"We have been burned out, we are in drought and we still can't get a single dollar for assistance,' he said.

"I tried to apply but I'm not eligible and we need it now.

"Someone has to say something to Prime Minister Scott Morrison."

This story It just took 10 minutes to wipe out farmland first appeared on The Land.