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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Extreme weather in 2012

Northern Victoria and the southern Riverina indeed are indeed lands of droughts and flooding rain, fire and hail storms.

January 4, 2013 4:07am

Hail damage at Clarke Rutherford orchard near Toolamba on April 30.


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Northern Victoria and southern Riverina are indeed lands of droughts and flooding rain, fire and hail storms.

And it all happened in 2012.

In February and March, heavy rainfall saw major floods move across the region and cut access to towns including Nathalia, Numurkah, Tallygaroopna and surrounding communities.

Farmers moved livestock and machinery onto higher ground. Pastures and fruit trees were drowned.

Australia was officially declared drought-free for the first time in more than a decade in late April, when the final two Exceptional Circumstances declarations in Bundarra and Eurobodalla come to an end.

Federal Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Joe Ludwig said it was a major milestone for agriculture in Australia.

But rain was inconsistent.

In autumn, hail storms hit orchards in Toolamba and Tatura.

Fruit Growers Victoria industry development officer Michael Crisera estimated the cost of the hail storm’s damage was between $4million and $5million.

In the last week of June, Country News spoke to NSW DPI Deniliquin district agronomist John Fowler, who said the southern Riverina was ‘‘very, very dry’’.

Mr Fowler said in the more than 30 years he had been an agronomist in the southern Riverina, he could not remember it having been so dry by the end of June and widespread crop failures looked likely.

He said even during the drought they had been able to establish crops, but this year they were struggling.

About two weeks later, Mr Fowler reported there had been enough rain for many growers to avoid crop failures.

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