Coming just weeks after hailstorms swept the Adelaide Hills region, heavy midnight storm systems over Orange, NSW, dumped 20 millimeters of rain in just 14 minutes with far higher rainfall totals recorded over the December 13 – 14 period.
Accompanied by hail and heavy winds, apple and cherry crops were heavily impacted. Those apple orchards with hail netting are reported to have avoided the worst of the damage, while unprotected apple blocks and other vulnerable horticultural crops, including wine grapes, flowers, cherries and stone fruit, suffered substantial damage.
Growers and government are still assessing the scale of the damage, with cherry growers, in particular, assessing whether the crops remaining are salvageable for picking.
Just last week, APAL’s Head of Government Relations Jeremy Griffith flew to Canberra to speak with the key Federal members, advisors, and the Department of Agriculture about ensuring ongoing support for similarly impacted SA growers, as well as discussing the need for government assistance with hail netting. The Orange hailstorm further highlights the Australia-wide importance of getting netting onto apple orchards for the industry’s future protection.
APAL will update on the Orange storms as assessments are completed.