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Super cell storm wipes out cotton crops in north west New South Wales

Lisa Herbert, Monday February 1, 2016 - 11:35 EDT
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Hail from, a super cell storm at Millie in NW NSW shredded dryland cotton crops on January 29 - ABC

Growers in north west New South Wales are still to assess the full extent of damage to their dryland cotton crops after a super cell storm on Friday, but early reports indicate substantial losses.



Significant damage has been reported in the Bellata and Millie areas, half way between Moree and Narrabri, with many crops expected to be written-off.

Agronomist Craig Lockhart said he was working between Edgeroi and Bellata about 11am on Friday when the storm ripped through.

He says he saw a number of houses with roofs ripped off following the storm.

Mr Lockhart says dryland cotton in the area was up to a metre high and had good yield potential, but that's no longer the case.

"It was probably up to my waist and now it's probably six inches high.

"It's like someone's put an old slasher straight across the top of it."



He estimates the super cell was 10-15 kilometres wide.

It's a cruel twist for growers who were unable to plant a cotton crop in recent years because of a lack of rain.

Mr Lockhart said the storm brought good rainfall so some farmers are likely to plant a chickpea crop, or prepare for a winter cereal planting.

"The storm brought 70mms of rain, roughly and there were little lakes everywhere, torrential rain.

"After the insurance payments, some of the dryland crops will be sprayed out.

"The chickpea prices looking good, and there is some decent subsoil moisture, with some people getting 70 millimetres in that hour, roughly."


- ABC

© ABC 2016

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