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Farmers get that sinking feeling with bogged headers and soggy seeders

By Cara Jeffery, Tim Fookes and Lucy Thackray, Sunday May 31, 2020 - 09:08 EST
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Nick McClure from Griffith has been doing a lot of slipping and sliding lately. - ABC

There would hardly be a farmer in the country that would ever begrudge a drop of rain, but with crops ready to harvest and paddocks waiting to be sown, many have been battling to dodge the bog holes in their paddocks.

Plenty of soggy sagas and bogged banter are being shared on social media after much of inland New South Wales received generous autumn rain of more than 500 millimetres in some areas.

Riverina rice grower Perry Hardy managed to bog the header during harvest at his Coleambally farm.



"Perry managed to find the only hole in that paddock, which was a fairly big bog hole," his wife, Cate, said.

"He did a good job, though, and bogged it to the platform.

"From our son's perspective, it was good value as it was their Dad who did it and not them."

Mrs Hardy said it had been a challenging season, with irrigation banks blowing out after 100mm of rain fell during the growing period.



"We also had hail which impacted yields," she said.

"I know it is laugh or cry sometimes with farming, especially given we started the with so little water and could only put 40 hectares of rice in using groundwater, so that evening when we stood our there in the rain, tossing the hay bales into the bank that had blown out from so much rain, there was a bit of irony it."



That sinking feeling

Forbes agronomist Adam Pearce experienced for himself the risk of driving through muddy paddocks.

Several hundred millimetres of rain in autumn turned paddocks in the area from being as hard as concrete to soft and boggy.

"I took the ute out onto it, got stuck, and needed to be towed out by a tractor," he said.



"Now that it's rained after such a long time of being so dry, you have to be more careful where you drive.

"Being bogged makes me more nervous about where I drive, but it's a nice problem to have."

Mr Pearce said there were a lot of farmers having issues getting their machinery stuck.

"Some of the soil around here doesn't have much of a bottom to it, so it's quite easy to sink quickly."



From dust to mud in a matter of months

Mixed farmer Jack Brennan said he got bogged at least a dozen times while sowing winter crops at Warren in the NSW central-west.

"It was very interesting, we were finding any machinery we could to drag gear out, and we even had to bring in tractors from other farms," he said.



While it was hard work freeing the equipment, Mr Brennan said he would much prefer to be farming in mud than dust.

"I would take this muddy ground any day over three years of dust storms blowing over the top of us."



Crookwell seed potato grower Garry Kadwell said getting bogged had become an issue recently due to the amount of autumn rain.

"We went from everything being so dry to now getting stuck in mud when we pick our potatoes," he said.

"I'm sounding like a typical farmer having a whinge."


- ABC

© ABC 2020

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