A hailstorm has devastated orchards in the Goulburn Valley. According to manager Michael Crisera from Fruit Growers Victoria, the storm followed a similar course to one that hit a few days before Christmas last year. Crisera said morale among orchardists was "as low as it's ever been". He said that the weather had already destroyed an estimated 200,000 bins of fruit from the region, worth $80 million.
"When you get hail late in the season, you've spent a lot of money to grow this season's crop, so whatever you've spent is lost as well — you've got no income to pay that back," Crisera said. "We're really in the midst of doing an assessment with all growers again to see how many more bins we've lost for this season. Most growers have been reporting it was like a mini-tornado or a mini-cyclone."
Crisera added that strong winds had uprooted trees and large hailstones had damaged netting. "Some areas have been spared," he said. "But there's not much left, to be honest."