Repairs continue after Bell district flooding

Farming community loses 20 per cent of cultivation

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Steve Munge, Bell, with AgForce south east regional manager Andrew Sinnamon, inspecting the crop and fencing damage at Bell.

Steve Munge, Bell, with AgForce south east regional manager Andrew Sinnamon, inspecting the crop and fencing damage at Bell.

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The district has gone from severe drought to severe flood, giving producers limited cropping options and infrastructure losses.

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Flood damage repairs are still taking place across the Darling Downs and south west, following extensive rain and overland flows last month.

One of those rebuilding is Bell producer Steve Munge.

After being drought declared for the past 18 months, the Bell district enjoyed significant rainfall before it copped a huge deluge of 260 millimetres, causing major soil, crop and infrastructure losses in early February.

Mr Munge said this rain was on the back of sizable falls received in January.

"We received 150mm in early January, and another 250mm in a good soaking fall in early February over four events," Mr Munge said.

"Then from Sunday, February 8, we receive another 150mm, followed by up to 20mm on Monday.

"On Tuesday the south-western side of Bell received another 260mm, which moved across the Bunya Mountains and re-formed to deliver another 300mm from midnight to 4am the Wednesday morning."

 AgForce south east regional manager Andrew Sinnamon with Steve Munge, Bell,inspecting the crop and fencing damage at Bell.

AgForce south east regional manager Andrew Sinnamon with Steve Munge, Bell,inspecting the crop and fencing damage at Bell.

Mr Munge said the rain fell in the catchments of Walkers Creek, Sunnyvale Creek, Kondit Creek and Cattle Creek.

"The speed of the water was worse than the 1981 flood, which was a slow moving event," he said.

"The difference with this event was it was so fast moving; it changed the direction of the water flowing, which resulted in it moving through to Jandowae and flooding the town."

He said the district has gone from severe drought to severe flood, giving producers limited cropping options and infrastructure losses.

Mr Munge said it could take 12 months to rectify the earthworks needed to control the next flood.

"This farming community is an older generation and it is going to take a lot to come back after losing 20 per cent of the cultivation."

QRIDA disaster recovery manager Ross Henry said any producers impacted by flooding could contact the Department of Agriculture to apply for individual disaster stricken property status.

"Then, if successful they can contact QRIDA for funding assistance," he said.

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