Mud and flood bad for spuds

DELUGE: Megan and Tim Parker stand in the water which inundated their family’s spud crops last week. Their father Bill Parker said the heavy rain caused irreversible damage.

Heavy rain has washed away most of a Colac district potato crop.

Yeodene’s Bill Parker suffered significant losses to his low-lying spud crop after last week’s deluge.

“We’ve got about 80 acres out the back and it’s nearly all gone,” Mr Parker said.

“There was about five-and-a-half inches of rain and the spuds were only up to about four inches at this time of year, so there just wasn’t enough cover for them,” he said.

Mr Parker said the flood damage was the worst he had seen in two decades.

“I haven’t seen it this bad in a long time, about 18 or 20 years ago it was pretty shocking but even then the spuds were probably a bit further along than they were this time,” he said.

Mr Parker praised Colac Otway Shire Council maintenance workers for clearing the dirt that washed over Colac-Lorne Road from his farm on Thursday.

“It just swept away so they had to get a street sweeper to clean it all up,” he said.

Mr Parker, who supplies spuds to biscuit and chip company Arnott’s, said much of his crop was beyond repair.

“I don’t think there’s a lot we can do about most of it since the rain has washed the soil away, and there could be another week of wet weather,” Mr Parker said.

“Right now I can’t get on to the paddocks because it’s too wet, so it’s hard to see what the actual damage is,” he said.

“The last few years we’ve been struggling to meet demands because it’s been so dry and now it’s flooded.

“I’d say farmers with any crops are in the same sort of position but dairy farmers should be okay.”

Mr Parker’s nephew Daniel Parker, who owns Yeoview Potatoes, said he hoped for dry weather after heavy rain affected his crop.

“There’s about 40 hectares with water, some parts have wash marks over it and some still has water laying on it,” Mr Parker said.

“There’s definitely going to be some losses but I won’t know for sure how much until it clears a bit.

“It’s fingers crossed for dry weather with some wind so the ground on the flat areas can dry up.”

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