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Northern New South Wales

Australian farmers hit hard as freak hailstorm wipes out crops

The same farmers who have been struggling to cope with the drought and were desperate for rain, in northern New South Wales have instead been hit by a severe hailstorm, which has wiped out a number of crops.

The storm hit late Tuesday, and ripped through the small hinterland town of Comboyne, south-west of Port Macquarie, affecting a strip of farms in the area. Ernst Tideman, who has a blueberry and avocado farm in the area, said his crops had been destroyed: "There were hail stones the size of golf balls, or 50 cent pieces, they destroyed the avocados, the crop we had started harvesting, and the flowering for next year, and a lot of the branches have been severely damaged”

Mr Tideman said the economic impact would be severe. "We will lose this year's crop and next year's crop and part of the year after that. We have five people working for us and we can't keep them employed. We think 10 farmers have been severely hit, and others less severely. There's a strip of farmers that have been hit hard."

Rainfall a 'hindrance' for firefighters
As reported on, the storm did also bring some rainfall, but it has not been heavy enough to aid fire-fighting efforts underway in northern NSW.

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