New Zealand, Australia, Weather/Climate

‘A kick in the guts’: Ballarat’s potato crops severely damaged by extreme weather

Up to 95 per cent of the potato crops in the Ballarat agricultural district have been damaged by storms last week, as the state braces for more wild weather. As Jane McNaughton reports for ABC Rural, some farmers in the region were reporting more than 200 millimetres of rain from the weather event, which began with severe thunderstorms on Wednesday afternoon. 

Ballarat Potato Growers Association chairman Chris Stephens said hail defoliated juvenile crops, which were already delayed due to the wet and cold summer. 

“The storm pretty much went from one end of the district to the other … it’s estimated that 90 to 95 per cent of the growers and crops were affected by the storm,” he said.  “The hail damage is just horrendous, some crops have just been completely stripped of all their foliage.”

Mr Stephens estimated up to 2,000 hectares of potato land was damaged in the storms. A spokesperson for McCain Foods, the region’s largest potato processor, said it was too early to comment on the damage.

Source: ABC Rural. Read the full story here
Photo: Supplied by Chris Stephens to ABC Rural, republished here with thanks.

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