3 mil spud crop smashed CROOKWELL'S $3 million a year potato industry has been devastated by last week's flood rains, following weeks of humid drizzly weather.
he Potato Capital of NSW now faces a dire future. Shocked farmers who've been in the ray ban outsiders industry all their lives say it will take five years to restore certified seed potato production. Meanwhile, North Queensland and South Australia, which have been the NSW industry's traditional markets for generations, will turn to other regions for supplies. Contractors in these regions will www ray ban sunglass now look to alternative seed potato sources. This will endanger Crookwell's future as a supplier. The knock on effect on the Crookwell Goulburn economy will be quickly felt, and long lasting. It follows the cancellation of the outdoor events of last weekend's potato festival. But even if coming seasons are more like the years that have made Crookwell vital to the potato industry, this current disaster may have put half the area's long established growers out of business. The NSW Primary Industry Department has offered financial help to growers, but for many, such tide over cash may not be enough to keep them going. Crookwell Potato Growers Association president Matthew Gay said yesterday: "We're looking at a minimum 90 per cent damage to our farms, but realistically it's 100 per cent. "I'm too frightened to contact other growers where to get ray bans in the area who've had time to scope the extent of the destruction. "Frankly, though, I don't know how or what they'll do; there's just nowhere for them to go from here." Senior regional DPI Inspector Paul Anderson said there were currently six certified potato growers in the area, but it was expected at least half of these would not continue. "This is beyond devastating," Mr Anderson said. "The extent of damage to farm lands around Crookwell and Goulburn has led this to be declared a natural disaster zone. "There is no way the potato crop will survive. "Even a few days after the rain has stopped, the fields are boggy and disease ridden. There's no light at the end of this tunnel." As well as the potato industry debacle, the DPI has recorded 1500 livestock deaths in South eastern NSW, with this number likely to double. Making it even more heartbreaking for potato growers who were looking forward to a good season after battling through 10 years of drought, the Crookwell crop was within a day or two of being harvested.
But paddocks of ray ban frames price prime grade potatoes were wiped out when 250mm of rain fell on one day last week. This turned farms into gluggy expanses of "potato soup". Farmers still can't risk expensive machinery in the mess, which will take weeks to completely dry out.
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