South-west crops waterlogged from floods

Flooded paddocks along Mt Emu Creek, south of Terang. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Flooded paddocks along Mt Emu Creek, south of Terang. Picture: Rob Gunstone

South-west farmers were left to inspect the damage as the waters of last week’s flood receded. 

While stock losses were minimal, Hamilton stock agent Warren Clark from K.P Lanyon and Co said it was the wettest he’d ever seen. 

“It’s wetter than anywhere around,” he said. “But the cropping farmers will have felt it the most.”

Southern Farming Systems operations coordinator Gina Kreeck said the recorded rainfall received at south-west trial sites was well above average with 10 days still left in September. 

She said a trial site at Inverleigh had received 84mm, with 92mm received at Westmere and 103 mm at Penshurst so far this month.

Sheep and crop farmer Neville Kruger said more than 400 of 1200 grazing-country hectares near Buckley’s Swamp were at least one-foot underwater.

He said he expected it would put hay and harvest back “a little bit”. 

“We had 75mm (last) week,” Mr Kruger said. “It’s done serious damage to the canola crop.”

The Penshurst farmer said while he was able to move the stock to other paddocks, the canola crops were wet for too long. 

“I don’t think they’re going to be viable,” he said.

“We’ll be looking at a significant loss for this year’s harvest.”

He said until last week’s downpour, the farm was wet but okay. 

“It was the rain that broke the camel’s back,” he said. 

Foxhow farmer Tim Turner said more than 30 hectares had been under eight inches of water last Thursday. 

“There was definitely a fear for the crops,” he said.

“Most of them are okay but canola is the one that we’re worried about now.”

Mr Turner said they were yet to see the full extent of the damage but were relieved at their crop’s resilience.

He said while the loss from the canola crops would cost around $500 per acre, another big rainfall would do the most damage. 

“Rain is good, and you would have cut your arm off for it before but we don’t need any for a month now,” he said.

He said the dampness also encouraged disease in crops which was another added cost and his biggest concern. 

“But it’s not all doom and gloom,” he said. “That’s just farming.”

The Livestock Biosecurity Network advised farmers to be aware of the hazards caused by extreme wet weather, such as water contamination, crop and pasture damage and the increased susceptibility of disease. 

Operations manager Dr Sarah-Jane Wilson said clean water and fodder, and a safe environment were now priorities. 

“It is not uncommon to see a spike in diseases and parasites in livestock after events like these,” she said. 

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