Wel­come wet

Tasmanian Country - - FRONT PAGE - ROGER HAN­SON

TAS­MA­NIA’S parched East Coast is set for more rain re­lief this week after up to 90mm fell over three days last week­end.

The fore­cast is for a fur­ther 50mm to 90mm while some iso­lated ar­eas could re­ceive up to 120mm.

After the down­pour, the Swan Val­ley Ir­ri­ga­tion Scheme is also closer to open­ing.

Cran­brook gra­zier Adam Green­hill, from Gala Es­tate, was “ab­so­lutely” de­lighted with the burst of rain.

“We haven’t had rain since May. Over all of win­ter we only got 25mm at Cran­brook, but ear­lier this week we got 70mm and more is ex­pected,” Mr Green­hill said.

Mr Green­hill runs a 4000ha di­verse en­ter­prise and vine­yard.

“Rivers are flow­ing and any run-off will help fill our dams. The rain is not do­ing any harm to the vine­yard.”

Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy se­nior fore­caster David Matthews said a low had passed to the east of Tas­ma­nia on Wed­nes­day with con­di­tions to ease as the low moved to the south­east and a cold front ap­proached.

“This amount of rain De­cem­ber for the East Coast is un­usual, but next week is ex­pected to be quiet with lit­tle rain ex­pected across the state,” Mr Matthews said.

In one of the state’s tra­di­tion­ally dri­est farm­ing ar­eas, Both­well in the Cen­tral High­lands copped up to 110mm of rain over the week­end, water­log­ging pad­docks of pop­pies and stock feed.

Sheep and poppy farmer Will Bignell, of Thorpe Farm, said where he would lose in the crop­ping op­er­a­tion, his live­stock would ben­e­fit.

Mr Bignell grows pop­pies, live­stock feed, crop rape and runs about 8000 sheep.

“It’s a very chal­leng­ing weather sys­tem, but this is the na­ture of the game. Hope­fully it bal­ances out, just have to keep mov­ing for­ward and look for the op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Mr Bignell said. “We will lose a per­cent­age of the pop­pies.”

His ir­ri­gated 160ha The Square copped 110mm over the week­end, with the 2400ha Thorpe farm re­ceiv­ing 80mm.

“Things are wet and wild. It’s an in­cred­i­ble vol­ume of wa­ter, un­prece­dented. You can’t plan for 110mm in De­cem­ber.

Mr Bignell also op­er­ates a drone busi­ness and used them to cre­ate mod­el­ling to pre­dict storm events on The Square.

“We dug 8km of drains mid­win­ter when it was re­ally dry and I am happy how they went. If I didn’t have the drains I would have been dev­as­tated,” he said.

About 90mm fell on cherry grower Mick Dud­geon’s 7ha or­chard Stonecrest Cher­ries at Sorell.

“It was a bloody lot rain. I am feel­ing for­tu­nate with lit­tle dam­age, but if it hap­pened in cou­ple of weeks time it may have caused more dam­age. Just need some sun­shine to lift the trees again,” Mr Dud­geon said. “More rain this week is not wel­come.”

Fruit Grow­ers Tas­ma­nia busi­ness devel­op­ment man­ager Phil Pyke said ex­cept for a few grow­ers the rain­fall was pos­i­tive.

“Ma­tu­rity in­dex of the fruit means that it is not in the risk pe­riod at this stage,” Mr Pyke said.

The 2000ML Swan Val­ley Ir­ri­ga­tion Scheme could soon be up and run­ning on the East Coast. Mr Green­hill, who is on the ir­ri­ga­tor com­mit­tee, said with 1000ML in the dam Tas­ma­nian Ir­ri­ga­tion could start com­mis­sion­ing pipe­lines.

Swan Val­ley project man­ager Andy Cor­bould said the rain helped in fill­ing the dam.

“Our fo­cus has been on com­mis­sion­ing the pump sta­tion and with enough rain will be able to get through all the tests. With good rain that should take about a week,” Mr Cor­bould said.

“The scheme is built and ready to go, we have just been wait­ing on the rain.

“This re­cent del­uge of rain is cer­tainly good to get wa­ter into the dam and be ready for ir­ri­gat­ing next sea­son.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.