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  • Jason Regan

Frustration for farmers as more rain falls across the Riverina

Who'd be a farmer? That throwaway, rhetorical question sums up the sentiment across the NSW Riverina today with more rain falling overnight, putting the breaks on harvesting operations again.

A single tree is seen within a Canola field in the NSW Riverina area near Lockhart (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

The prospect of a bumper crop across NSW was all but ruined last Friday when a massive rainfall event saw over 100mm of rainfall across many parts of the Riverina. Crops previously hanging on after an earlier hail event were flattened and windrowed Canola left in puddles of mud and stagnant water.

The overnight rain wasn't as severe as last Friday's deluge with localised falls reporting 10 to 20mm in some parts. Most areas didn't receive close to that amount. But, the frustration of a stop/start harvest, where the clock is becoming an issue is palpable.

Last Friday's downpour saw minor flooding reported, some roads were closed and harvesting ceased. Total's included 107mm at Narrandera, 117mm at Culcairn, Wagga City recorded 107mm and The Rock reported 105mm.

To put that into perspective, Wagga's average rainfall for November is 46.5mm and its annual rainfall average is 571mm. Friday's event was more than double its November average and nearly 20% of the average annual rainfall. And it all fell in just one day.

Nikki Reynolds is a local reporter for Riverina newspaper "The Rural" and also a member of the local farming fraternity. She said it's not all doom and gloom with reports some of the local crops had been green enough to withstand the deluge. But, others weren't as lucky.

"I was driving around on Friday, trying to get home before the roads became blocked. Sadly I saw a lot of wheat crops all but lying down," Nikki said.
"The local SES was just flat out. There was sandbagging going on at The Rock. The connecting road across to Mangoplah was one of the first roads to be close and the Olympic Highway was being traffic controlled and was down to one lane".

Nikki said the major concerns now for local producers are logistical issues, with many roads damaged by the heavy rain and flooding. Getting the harvest to the silo has become more costly as a result.

Nikki also said there are issues with Canola deliveries being turned away at various sites due to quality issues caused by the damp.



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