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Ελληνικη Ραδιοφωνια τηλεοραση



Hail storm causes huge losses to SA growers

December 2019

Riverland growers are assessing the damage to crops after a sudden hailstorm cut through the region two weeks ago.
Properties hardest hit were in Barmera, Monash, Glossop, and parts of Renmark and crops damaged included grapes, stone fruit, nuts, and grain.
According to ABC Riverland, three years ago, a devastating hailstorm hit properties from Taylorville to Yamba and had an estimated combined damage bill of $100 million.
Renmark stone fruit grower Chris Pavlomanolakos speaking to the Greek Tribune, said his property was in the path of the storm destroying the majority of his crop in a matter of minutes.
“It’s not a viable option to select and pack the non damaged fruit as most of the apricots have been marked by the hail. The market does not want marked fruit. Even if I can find a market to send my fruit as second grade, we wont be able to recover the huge costs for picking, packing and transport. Its a huge catastrophe”, he said.
Mr Pavlomanolakos said he is not the only affected grower in Renmark.
“There are many more who were in the path of the hail storm”.
There is little growers can do to protect their crops from hail damage and few have insurance due to the uncertainty and cost.
Stone fruit industry representative Tim Grieger has called on the Government to support the industry by making hail insurance more affordable.
"There is insurance out there but it is so cost-prohibitive and unworkable that no grower can get it," he said.
Glossop grower George Simos said the hail hit just minutes after he saw the storm approaching.
"I've lost here probably 80 per cent of my merlot [wine grape] crop, out of 200 tonne," Mr Simos said.
He said the hail damage meant he would not harvest this year but would need to continue to water and spray his vines to maintain them for future crops.
"This has never happened to me before, I'm a bit numb at the moment," he said.
Berri Barmera Mayor Peter Hunt compared the damage to the November 2016 storm.
"For me it looks like a path about a kilometre, two kilometres wide. There are affected areas but it hasn't affected ones right next door," Mr Hunt said.
"It only lasted a few minutes but that's what caused all the damage, the hailstones were ranging from marble size up to close on golf ball size."
He said the storm was the last thing growers needed while already coping with dry conditions and reduced water availability.
Minister for Primary Industries Tim Whetstone said department staff was in the region after the storm assessing the damage.
"Just to know whether we are going to call on the Commonwealth for disaster relief or whether there's a lower level of help needed," Mr Whetstone said.
He said there were reports already of entire crop losses from stone fruit, grape, and nut properties, as well as scarring and damage in the fruit and vines.
"The damage is quite varied, just as it is in our dryland sector, the farmers out there are in the midst of harvest and we've seen some damage."
Mr Whetstone said the impact on individual growers would vary depending on whether it was their primary source of income or if they had off-farm work.


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