New Zealand, Australia, Weather/Climate

‘Once in a generation disaster’: Australian potato farmer tells of devastating rain and hail damage

There are fears of a potato shortage after wild weather lashed the Ballarat region in Australia last week, causing millions of dollars of damage to crops. Clarkes Hill potato farmer of 40 years, Rodney Guthrie, says his area endured hail and 150mm of rain. 3aw.com.au spoke to Mr Guthrie.

“It’s one of the biggest disasters I’ve ever seen,” he told Stephen Quartermain and Emily Power, filling in for Ross and Russel. “The hail stripped all the leaves and broke all the stems of the potatoes, and then the rain washed all the soil away. “This has never happened before. Neighbouring farms in the region, which is one of the major suppliers to McCain, were also struck,” he says.

Crops were only about a third of the way through growing and Mr Guthrie says it won’t be clear for a few weeks whether they can be saved. “We won’t know for two or three weeks to see if they come back,” he said.

“It’s a once in 100-year disaster, and we’re just going to have to wear it.”

Source: 3aw.com.au. Listen to the conversation with Rodney Guthrie here

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