New Zealand, Australia, Seed

Seed potato growers on Australia’s Kangaroo Island hit hard by bushfires

Kangaroo Island‘s seed potato producers were all hit to some degree by the summer’s bushfires. But none more so than Peter Lock, whose home, shed and equipment on Turkey Lane west of Parndana were all totally destroyed by fire, while he lost his nearby potato crops too. Stan Gorton reports for The Islander Online.

When the fire ripped through Turkey Lane on January 3, the potato farmer and his 15 or so workers had to flee for their lives.

The fire not only took the shed, boxes and boxes of potatoes, his packing and cool rooms, forklift, trucks and farm machinery, it also destroyed his own house and the backpacker accommodation.

“The list goes on and on, it took everything,” he said.

Other potato producers lost crops, sheds and farm infrastructure. The whole Island seed potato industry was set back by the fires and is running about 10 weeks behind schedule.

Mr Lock and his workers last week finished their first harvest since the fire, having dug up and packaged about 1200 tonnes of seed potatoes from his north coast paddocks.

The seed potatoes are shipped to the mainland and used by commercial growers around Australia.

Read the full report on The Islander Online here
Photo: The Islander

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