Deluge dampens farmers’ outlook

POTATO farmer Jim Gannon says he will lose a portion of his crop after a record-breaking deluge at Pennyroyal, south-east of Colac.

Mr Gannon said a downpour of 220 millimetres of rain in three hours could create problems with potato blight.

“It’s had a fair impact because we’ve got quite a few potatoes in and it’s a bit too much rain on them,” he said.

“We’ll lose a percentage but hopefully not too many, it depends how much rain we get from here on in.”

Mr Gannon said he had planted his potatoes in December and January.

“It was the later ones that suffered the most,” he said on Friday.

“There was a little bit of damage control today but luckily most of the water’s drained away.

“They’re pretty mushy to walk on.”

The Bureau of Meteorology said Thursday night’s rain was a record for Pennyroyal.

Mr Gannon said he had “never seen anything like it”, having spent his life at Pennyroyal.

“We’ve had up to six inches in 24 hours but nothing like that in three hours,” he said.

“I’m hoping for fine weather for a month.”

Deans Marsh’s Susan Swaney said her property received 11 millimetres and avoided the worst of the downpour.

“If we’re going to get rain, I’d like a bit more but not as much as some others had it,” she said.

Irrewarra beef farmer Serge Beani said the rain came too early for most producers in the district and “we were lucky we didn’t get anything”.

“That amount of rain is too early for the autumn break,” Mr Beani said.

“You know it’s going to get warmer, so if anything does shoot out of the ground, it’s going to burn off,” he said.

“You want the rain to start in early March, preferably the middle of March – to have this amount of rain in March would’ve been brilliant.”

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