Namoi braces for more rain

Winter, summer crop double whammy as Namoi floods

Cropping
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The timing of this week's Namoi Valley flood is shaping as a double whammy for farmers, with winter crops only about 50 per cent harvested across the region and recently established summer crops also inundated.

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A rising Namoi River at Gunnedah on late Tuesday morning, which reached 8.25m on Wednesday morning. Photo: Jono Middlebrook

A rising Namoi River at Gunnedah on late Tuesday morning, which reached 8.25m on Wednesday morning. Photo: Jono Middlebrook

The timing of this week's Namoi Valley flood is shaping as a double whammy for farmers, with winter crops only about 50 per cent harvested across the region and recently established summer crops also inundated.

Delta Ag agronomist, Rob Weinthal, who has two farms near Boggabri, said while he has harvested about 90pc of his canola, he had not yet started his durum wheat and was unsure of its condition as he couldn't access that block.

He also had some dryland cotton along the river which was a write-off already due to local minor flooding three weeks earlier.

"Guys that are sitting on five-tonne-a-hectare durum crops at $500-$600/t are looking at some big losses," he said.

Mr Weinthal also had clients along Coxs Creek, which drained into the Namoi, where he said they had lost cotton in particular, and also sorghum.

His biggest concern, however, was the 50-70 millimetres of rain forecast for late in the week, which if it eventuates, could do much more damage.

Currabubula Creek floodwater laps the verandah at "The Park", Piallaway, during one of the biggest flows of the creek in living memory. Photo: Amy Perfrement

Currabubula Creek floodwater laps the verandah at "The Park", Piallaway, during one of the biggest flows of the creek in living memory. Photo: Amy Perfrement

As local ag pilot Jono Middlebrook said: "If we get 50mm on top, she'll be on big time. It won't take much to do some real damage, like in 2000," he said.

Mr Middlebrook had been up for a look in his plane and said the local systems, such as the Mooki River and many of the local creeks, had big volumes of water coming down.

One farmer, Amy Perfrement, "The Park", Piallaway, whose block is situated where Currabubula Creek meets the Breeza Plain, said the water was lapping at her verandah - water which eventually makes its way into the Mooki and then Namoi rivers.

She said she was fortunate in that her operation was mainly cattle, with only a small amount of opportunity cropping.

Nutrien branch manager, Duncan Hill, Gunnedah, said he knew of farmers that would have definitely already lost summer crops.

He also has a cropping property at Lake Goran, near Curlewis, which he said was near empty three weeks ago and was now "quite full", having inundated some of his own crops.

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Mr Hill said there had been a short window of three or four days last week where growers were able to get started with harvest, hence the long queues at receivals while growers could get grain off the paddock.

As local agent Rob Galton, Rob Galton and Co, who was busy earlier this week moving his own stock and equipment to safety, said: "Most people got a bit of a start, and a taste for it and what sort of yield they were getting".

Mr Galton said a lot of people struggled to grasp the size of the catchment in that region and how much water could come down, which included watershed from the Liverpool Ranges to Nundle, the Moonbi Ranges and Kingstown.

The Bureau of Meteorology reported on Tuesday that flooding was expected to peak at Gunnedah on late Tuesday evening at 8.10 metres, exceeding the major flood level of 7.9m.

However, at 10am on Wednesday as The Land was going to print, the Bureau's live river condition feed showed the river height at 8.227m and steady, having peaked at 8.25m.

The BoM expected rain in all NSW catchments with the forecast front this week, which had flood alerts out for most catchments across the eastern half of the state.

Meanwhile, minor flooding was occurring along the Peel River at Tamworth and the Bureau expected the Namoi would peak at about 6.4m at Narrabri on Thursday (today).

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