Community completes harvest for mate

Some of the road trains lined up to deliver to two CBH receival points open on the day.”IT was a magnificent day and very overwhelming.”

That was the response from Maya farmer Peter Waterhouse after his neighbours rolled into his property on Sunday morning and harvested his remaining 1100 hectares.

A strong team of 15 headers, more than 20 road trains and nine chaser bins made short work of Peter’s crop, delivering to the nearby Bunjil and Latham receival points that were opened especially for the day.

By mid-afternoon harvest was done and the Waterhouse family joined an estimated 150 people for a celebratory function at the Latham Sporting Club.

The community had come together to help out a mate who was diagnosed with liver cancer at seeding time.

Prior to his diagnosis Peter, 62, said he hadn’t felt out of character and was “in a bit of shock”.

It took about six to seven weeks to work out what was going on.

Since then he has been travelling to Perth for treatment that includes radiation beads directly onto his liver.

Despite Peter’s plans to harvest his 1500ha on his own, the community had other ideas.

“I didn’t want them to get involved but I quickly realised I couldn’t stop them,” Peter said.

He was approached by neighbour Phil Nicoloau who got the ball rolling and rallied the community.

“Our youngest son Blake was one of the organisers of the busy bee and did a great job,” Peter said.

“My initial thought was I don’t need a hand, I can do it myself, but then I realised I couldn’t do anything about it.

“We are humbled by the support of the community and people coming from as far as Ballidu to Bowgada.”

On his own Peter said he would have completed harvest by Christmas, but conceded the community effort “was a massive help for my wife Susan and the family”.

The high-level of support is not surprising considering how involved Peter has been with the community.

He has lived in the area since 1960 after his father farmed in Goomalling and they wanted more land, expanding to east Maya where they have 2500 hectares and run about 1000 sheep.

Peter has been an ambulance officer and volunteered with the local fire brigade for 30 years.

He joined the Shire of Perenjori in 2012 and is the deputy shire president.

“This is one of our better seasons,” Phil Nicoloau said.

“Seeding started with oats in March and that averaged 2.5 tonnes per hectare which is brilliant.

“I put the oats in for sheep feed but ended up harvesting it and storing it.”

He said if they could replicate this season every year, “it would be great”.

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