Flood damage to Pyrenees farms, crops and fencing hit hard

Published on 02 November 2022

Extensive damage to rural properties from recent storms and flooding combined with ongoing waterlogging will have flow on impacts to the local economy, delaying much of the Pyrenees region’s planned harvesting and shearing activities.

With much of the Shire’s rural areas remaining waterlogged, crops are being damaged and farmers face difficulty moving and containing livestock across soggy grounds and within damaged fences. Road conditions are making it difficult get farm produce and stock in and out, which also affects the local transport industry.

Farmers have shared their concerns and needs for support in recent discussions with Pyrenees Shire Manager Economic Development, Ray Davies, at recent drop-in sessions at Natte Yallock Reserve.

“This waterlogged state is just devasting for our agriculture community,” said Mr Davies. “They can’t yet repair things like fences and sheds because the grounds are too muddy and they can’t begin harvesting with these paddocks being so wet.

“Many growers have crops damaged. The ones that can salvage some of their produce will also struggle because heavy vehicles can’t get access into the farms because the road conditions are too muddy.”

Growers are estimating that the extent of damage won’t be fully understood until harvest is completed. Crops along the Avoca River to Natte Yallock, as well as at Mt Emu have suffered extensive damage.

Those with livestock report the ongoing wet conditions have impacted pastures and made containing their animals a challenge with there likely to be hundreds of kilometres of fencing destroyed. Council staff are investigating the extent of this issue at present.

“Shearing activities may be up to five weeks behind schedule, because some property owners can’t get sheep to sheds and yards without walking them through water or are simply unable to,” said Mr Davies.

“Council is hearing some pretty hard stories about the impact of this sustained wet. In some cases, farmers have got insurance, but they’re finding it doesn’t cover riverine damage, or their fencing.”

Council will work with Agriculture Victoria and other agencies where necessary to assist the agriculture sector recover from recent weather events.

“We’re putting people in touch with the business funding supports that are on offer from Government, as well as encouraging people to connect with free local financial counselling to help work through what to do next,” said Mr Davies.

Council continues to investigate the fencing damage and needs across the Shire, and current estimates place damage at over $1.2 million. Once wet conditions clear and the ground dries, Council is working with both Blaze Aid and local prison Landmate crews to start the process of repairing fences at the northern and southern ends of the Shire.  Depending on further rain events, this could take another three to four weeks before works can begin.

Call Council on 1300 797 363 or drop in to Avoca and Beaufort Flood Recovery Resource centres to find out more about financial relief assistance for flood affected farmers. 

Rural Financial Counselling Services (Vic West) 1300 735 578 can help with ‘what to do next’. It’s a free, local, confidential service.

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