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Tropical Cyclone Imogen brings welcome rain for some farmers and heartache for others

By Rural reporters, Monday January 4, 2021 - 17:03 EDT
ABC image
Decent rain across the east coast of Australia has most farmers celebrating. - ABC

Tropical Cyclone Imogen has brought farmers on the east coast of Australia some welcome rain.



The and the trough extended into inland New South Wales and also brought thunderstorms to Victoria.

While the rain has been welcomed by graziers, the heavy rain is causing problems for some fruit growers in Victoria.

Grazier Ashley Gallagher said he and his 79-year-old father had spent their whole lives at Sawtell Creek Station, near Normanton, and had never experienced a cyclone at the property before today.

"I guess we were all a little bit complacent about it, no-one was really worried about it or anything because they never come here," he said.

Mr Gallagher, whose property recorded 201mm for the 24-hour period, said the Norman River was rising but he was not expecting any major flooding.

"It hasn't rained upstream of us, so this water will run away in the next couple of days and [the river] will probably go back down and probably only do good things.

At 8:00am on Monday, the eye of the storm was above Oakland Park, a cattle property near Croydon in north-west Queensland and Kerri-Ann French, from the property, said the rain started at about 1:00am with pretty severe wind, and it did not let up until about 7:00am.



"I tipped out 200 millimetres [this morning] to make room for a bit more!

Ms French said the rain would be great for the property's pastures and paddocks.

"We had a lot of dams that weren't full, and grass was getting pretty ordinary so, this is going to certainly give it a good soaking," she said

'Up to their knees in grass'

Grazier Trevor Wingfield recorded 500mm on his farm this month, five times the amount he got last December.

He lives on the upper reaches of the Clarence River west of Grafton and he is cut off from his cattle by the rising river, but he is not complaining.

He managed to hold on to cattle during the drought and now he has a lot of feed and cattle prices are booming.

"Last year we sold fat cows for $200, nobody wanted them, [but] we've been selling the same cows this year and getting $1,500 to $1,600."





Further south James Laurie has had the wettest December on his farm for nearly 60 years.

He owns Knowla Livestock at Barrington Tops where they have recorded 300mm for December.

"It's got very wet here ? the wettest December since 1962 and it has rained every day of the new year".

The Barrington River runs through his property so he can't get across the river to check on his stock, but he is not worried yet.

"No floodwaters are threatening any stock. It's just access to some parts of the property that is affected".

"It'd only take another quick 20 or 30 mm and there would be local flooding [in the town] because the country is now saturated".

James Laurie said it felt like a return to the good old days, but he may have to put his plan to improve his pastures on hold.

"We have to be able to get on the country and actually sow it and there is no chance of that at the moment. So, we're putting our plans there on hold to try and get winter feed established".

Thunderstorms affect far west NSW

Lighting, hail and heavy rain hit the region around Broken Hill with some properties recording up to 50mm.

Kate McBride from Tolarno Station south of Menindee said the weekend's downpour was 'incredible.'

"We had 61 millimetres in one hour two nights ago which was just phenomenal," she said.

"It came out of absolutely nowhere. We didn't think we'd get any rain at all out of that one.

"And then the following day we got about another 8 millimetres."

Rain causing problems in Victoria



But the recent rain has damaged a third of the fruit growing on Cam Rayner's property in the Yarra Valley in Victoria.

"Every three or four days we've been getting rain and it's just a constant battle with brown rot," Mr Rayner said.

He said the lack of sunshine had also slowed the growth of his autumn and winter crops like pomegranates.

"Every time it rains, they lose some flowers and it just gets to the point where if it keeps raining, by the time autumn comes around, there's no fruit left on them."


- ABC

© ABC 2021

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