Record wet February - and the month is not over yet

Record wet February in parts of North Coast highlights crop resilience

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Livestock buyer Eliezer Robinson lost a bull and drowned a tractor when floodwaters from the Upper Orara, above Dairyville, swept across his flats. He was lucky not to lose this fence, which survived but showed the effect of receding waters

Livestock buyer Eliezer Robinson lost a bull and drowned a tractor when floodwaters from the Upper Orara, above Dairyville, swept across his flats. He was lucky not to lose this fence, which survived but showed the effect of receding waters

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Record February rainfall on parts of the Far North Coast have tested the resolve of summer croppers, and have highlighted an amazing level of resilience in some crop varieties.

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Record February rainfall on parts of the Far North Coast have tested the resolve of summer croppers, and have highlighted an amazing level of resilience in some crop varieties.

Grafton DPI research station at Trenayre recorded 396mm so far this month while the previous record in 1928 measured 315mm.

Nymboida has recorded 391mm for February beating the previous record of 375mm.

Hayman variety soybean, trialled at the Grafton DPI research farm, has shown an amazing ability to endure out of the ordinary climatic conditions.

At Lawrence on the lower Clarence more than 800mm has fallen since Christmas eve, 730mm for the year and at Nathan and Rod Ensbey's farm Hayman variety has proven its worth on cropping country allowed to drain.

"Hayman has been bred to handle growing conditions across a lot of different climates from North Queensland to the mid north coast," said Nathan Ensbey.

The lowest gullies, under more than a metre of water for sustained times, have suffered losses, about 10 per cent of the plant.

Alan Munro, also from Lawrence said he planted soybeans just prior to the January event and estimates 10 per cent loss at this early stage. He has been pumping paddocks with a Chinese built axial flow pump set in a concrete pit which connect to the PTO shaft on his tractor.

"I was keeping up to it day by day but when last week's lot came down it was just too much."

On the Tweed, Mark North at Nunderi near Condong recorded 1600mm in 15 days from mid January.

The total figure was compiled using neighbours' data as well because Mr North's 300mm gauge repeatedly overflowed while he was sleeping. He said the falls were patchy, with one event dumping 170 on Murwillumbah and just 3mm on the Pacific Highway. "The figures have been varying anywhere up to 100mm," he said.

Mr North lost soybeans to Valentine's Day inundation, which created enough flow off his farm to erode tracks on the flats.

Mr North has already sourced more Hayman seed. "I'll go again," he said, noting that his neighbour Dave Bartlett planted Hayman on March 2 last year and harvested 2.8 to 3t/ha.

Meanwhile thee have been fish kills from the Macleay to the Tweed as oxygen deprived blackwater killed all marine life - a legacy of previous flood mitigation. Farmers say more is being done to alleviate the problem but fishermen say it's not enough.

Local council are now seeking disaster relief funding to budget for damaged roads and bridges.

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