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Wide Bay farmers 'reeling' after floods swamp Queensland crops after months of dry

Kallee Buchanan and Tom Major, Tuesday October 3, 2017 - 11:43 EDT
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This strawberry farmer is eating what he can after floods swamped his property at Bundaberg. - ABC

Farmers in the Wide Bay region are reeling from the impact of the wettest October day on record.

of heavy storms, with 240 millimetres falling in just six hours.

Chairman of Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Allan Mahoney said his farm was swamped in the deluge.

"I just walked most of the property, we've got water views down the south-eastern end of our place, so our neighbours are swimming at the moment," he said.

"It was definitely a hard drop, it all depends on the commodity and the different stages but there's going to be varying amounts of damage.

"Some crops just wouldn't have handled it at all unfortunately."

Mr Mahoney is yet to check with growers in some parts of the district, but expects losses will be severe.

"North side of Bundaberg I've heard of some pretty harrowing stories already, [but] I'm yet to talk to guys down in the south end."

The storm comes after one of the driest winters on record for southern Queensland, with low prices for fruit and vegetables slashing farm profits.

Now the long-awaited rain has fallen, it has done more damage than the drought for many growers.

"Really needed that rain, we just didn't need it that hard or that fast," Mr Mahoney said.

"Seasons are not season anymore … storms seem to be more ferocious, downpours seem to be a lot harder."

Falls vary

While the coastal regions were hit hardest by the storms, inland it was a different story.

Talkback callers from the Biggenden and Mount Perry welcomed the more moderate falls of around 80 millimetres that filled tanks and watered dusty paddocks and gardens.

Margaret from Mount Perry, 100 kilometres west of Bundaberg, reported gentle, soaking rains that she said graziers would welcome.

"The cattle will have some green picking now," she said.

While the rain hit some areas hard, other drought-stricken parts of the district have reported missing out on heavy falls.

Merv from Gympie reported 50 millimetres, the most rainfall he had tipped out of his rain gauge since Cyclone Debbie, six months ago.

"I feel sorry for all the ones who are carting water, I hope they got plenty," he said.

"I thought we were going to miss out ourselves, but it rained yesterday from 10 o'clock [in the morning] to 10 o'clock last night, only light rain, and it hasn't rained since."


© ABC 2017

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