Flood-affected NSW farmers are facing significant losses with much of the damage uninsurable, according to a new survey.
More than two-thirds of 150 respondents said they were experiencing flooding for a second year running, while three-quarters said they’d planted less than half of their usual winter crop because of the wet weather.
Despite losing fences and roads on his property, Parkes farmer Gavin Tom considers himself fortunate.
“I count myself lucky really,” he told AAP.
The constant rain has prevented the mixed crop and sheep producer from planting 70 per cent of his usual crop.
“The ones that haven’t planted are perhaps better off because the ones that have spent a huge amount on fertiliser costs and chemical costs and then now not being able to harvest after having spent all that money,” Mr Tom said.
“I just got oats in and a small amount of barley … I didn’t get any wheat in.”
Mr Tom said more than 80mm fell in 24 hours earlier this week, describing it as “very unusual” for so much rain to fall in a short period.
The farmer has had to shear some of his 250 sheep himself because parts of his property have been inaccessible.
He said it’s all taking its toll on the mental health of farmers.
“I imagine there’s more people upset and worried than there is looking at having a good return this season,” Mr Tom said.
NSW farmers conducted the survey and president Xavier Martin said more than 80 per cent had reported adverse mental health impacts as a result of the floods.
“Farmers are saying they’re a bit over it frankly and it’s not hard to see why,” he said.
“With so many people reporting increased stress and mental health impacts, I’d urge everyone to keep in touch with neighbours.”
Mr Martin said the financial impact is enormous, with harvesting efforts delayed by several weeks as flooding wreaks havoc on roads and paddocks.
“A lot of this flood damage cannot be insured against and we’ll be feeling the impact well into next year in terms of missing the summer sowing window because the ground is still so wet,” he said.
According to NSW farmers, many respondents said farm roads, fences, bridges and culverts would need to be replaced, with initial repair bill estimates of $100,000 and more.
Mr Martin said with more than half of NSW local government areas subject to natural disaster declarations, most roads were heavily pot-holed or closed in parts, which was having a huge impact on trucking, machinery and access.
The findings will be shared with the NSW and federal governments.