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Severe storms herald the end of Tasmania's winter

Rosemary Grant, Tuesday August 20, 2013 - 20:28 EST
ABC image
Later winter rain is swelling Tasmania's northern rivers including the Supply River near Exeter. - ABC

Fierce stormy weather is taking a toll on livestock across northern Tasmania.

Gale force winds, heavy rain, hail or snow, and thunder and lightning completed the severe weather picture this week.

Fishing boats are idle and oyster farms are closed by too much runoff into places like Georges Bay.

Northern rivers are swollen and roads and bridges cut by moderate flooding.

Soils are saturated, waterlogged crops are yellowing, and paddock preparation is at a standstill for some time.

Bees can't pollinate early flowering fruit trees, livestock are losing condition, and ewes with lambs are especially vulnerable.

Tasmania's dairy sector is also struggling through calving, after days and days of rain.

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Dairy Council chair, Andrew Lester is more than half way through calving at Herrick in the north east.

He says while late winter can deliver wild weather in his district, it can get pretty trying with the cows.

"We've had really wet weather for at least a fortnight now and it's really detrimental to the pastures," he said.

"We're pugging severely, so that's going to be another cost for farmers during the springtime.

"We'll need to reseed a lot of that ground, and that'll impact grass growth significantly.

"We hope the production isn't back because what we'll do is try and get extra feed in other ways.

"But it's a bit trying. I mean you get out in that weather, yesterday especially.

"The storms come across and you're trying to get cows and calves in and they won't walk in that weather.

"They hate it and so do you.

"But I think it's only meant to snow tomorrow, isn't it?

"They do say there's money in mud but sometimes too much mud gets a bit monotonous."


© ABC 2013

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