Gone fishing in the wheat paddock at Toobeah

Macintyre floods inundate winter crops

Cropping
Matt Campbell, Boongargil, Toobeah, casting a line into what was a paddock of Suntop wheat.

Matt Campbell, Boongargil, Toobeah, casting a line into what was a paddock of Suntop wheat.

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Ongoing floods in southern Queensland river systems wreaks havoc on winter crops.

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Going from dust storms six months ago, to winter crops under floodwaters is one of those cases of 'if you don't laugh, you'll cry'.

And it's exactly what Matt Campbell and Alisha Reading are facing at Boongargil, Toobeah, as the Macintyre, Weir and Moonie rivers see renewed rises and ongoing flood warnings.

"At this farm, we had in 1950 hectares of wheat and about 12-1500ha is presently under water," Ms Reading said.

"This is our third flood in two weeks; it just keeps going up and down, and there's probably another two on the way, at least.

"We haven't had a lot of rain, just little bits, but it's so wet that you have 10 millimetres and it looks like two inches."

So when fishing is your stress relief of choice but floodwaters have you cut off from the river, the wheat paddock is the next best thing apparently.

"It was just a case of we've just lost 80 to 90 per cent of our crop under the floodwater and it was something to entertain ourselves and to make ourselves laugh," Ms Reading said.

"Matt said 'let's go down and pretend we're fishing in the wheat crop and you can take some photos', and he doesn't often like having his photo taken, so I wasn't going to say no to that."

Matt Campbell and Alisha Reading, Boongargil, Toobeah, remain positive as their best winter crop in years is inundated by waist-deep water. Photos: Alisha Reading - The Farmer's Friend Photography.

Matt Campbell and Alisha Reading, Boongargil, Toobeah, remain positive as their best winter crop in years is inundated by waist-deep water. Photos: Alisha Reading - The Farmer's Friend Photography.

Asked if they caught anything, Ms Reading laughed and said "it was all for the 'gram".

"We didn't even bait any hooks, it was freezing cold and we lasted about 15 minutes before we got back in the car," she said.

"It was literally just Sunday afternoon entertainment and having a bit of fun."

While it's a disappointing turn of events, they're eternal optimists like most farmers.

"Things probably look grim, and don't get me wrong we are disappointed that we've lost that crop, but we still have hope," Ms Reading said.

"There's mud and you can still make money from mud. Yes, it's probably going to take 12 months for us to make anything out of that mud, but there's hope, where with the drought you don't know when it's going to rain again."

Planted in May, Ms Reading said it was going to be a good crop.

"It was probably one of the best starts we've had to a winter season in a long time," she said.

"We've had a lot of extremes over the last few years, and it's not an ideal situation, but it's better than what we had before.

"We were having dust storms six months ago and now it's waist-deep water in the wheat paddock, so one extreme to the other, but we just keep carrying on.

"It's disheartening, but it's farming and it's what happens."

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