December 06, 2017

Water inundated Colin and Marg Bull's property 'Oakville' when about 120mm of rain fell in the area between Thursday and Sunday.

Up to 120mm of rain fell in parts of the Southern Riverina during a storm cell which started on Thursday afternoon.

While the wet period will provide a positive boost for summer crops, unharvested winter crops may be downgraded as a result of the deluge with weight and protein of wheat particularly at risk.

Tocumwal food producer Ted Hatty said his area seemed to miss the worst of the storm, but he still recorded 67mm on his property to Sunday.

He said the effect on his winter crops is still unknown.

‘‘Irrigated crops in the district were not quite ready (for harvest), so they may have been able to duck and weave the negative impacts of the rain,’’ Mr Hatty said.

‘‘I expect there would have been an impact on most unharvested crops, but we won’t know more until we get get back into harvest.

‘‘With a bit of sun and wind that hopefully won’t be too far away.

‘‘We have had some very unsettling weather, and what is still to come is unpredictable.’’

The weekend rainfall totals in Finley were generally about 60mm and falls of between 58mm and 120mm were recorded in the Jerilderie region.

Situated north east of Jerilderie, Conargo landholder Colin Bull’s property ‘Oakville’ was one of the hardest hit.

On his property, 40km north of Conargo, three rain gauges measured between 100mm and 120mm between Thursday to Monday.

On Monday night, another 14mm was delivered in a follow up rain event, and Mr Bull said it was all on top of more than 70mm which fell a week earlier.

He said he ended up with ‘‘absolute water frontage everywhere’’.

‘‘We were trying to move some sheep to higher ground and as they were swimming out the dog was swimming behind them ... I had never seen that before,’’ Mr Bull said.

‘‘There’s a normally dry creek next to the house and when the water came down, it went over the top of the bank.

‘‘We did get some of the heaviest rain in the district and Monday’s rain topped things up a little bit, but the water is dropping reasonably quickly now,’’ he said yesterday.

‘‘Access to the house is still limited, but provided we don’t receive any more significant rain the surface water should drain away pretty well.

‘‘The forecasts can be notoriously unreliable so we didn’t do any preparations before the rain hit, but we did draw up a plan so we knew what to do if the weather did deliver as much as forecast.’’

That plan, and having recycling pumps on hand, has hopefully saved the winter crops still in the ground at ‘Oakville’, Mr Bull said.

‘‘The unharvested crops were inundated but we got the water off the bulk of the paddocks pretty quickly.

‘‘The barley was only one day away from harvest, but it should be okay. We just have to wait for it to dry out a bit to get the harvester on there.

‘‘The chickpeas were still a little green so they should be okay too.

‘‘The rain is really good for the summer crops though, with everything sown and growing it’s only really had a positive impact.’’

More rain is possible this week in the Southern Riverina, but with less than 1mm predicted for most days, apart from tomorrow when falls could be between 5mm and 10mm.

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