Farmers in south-east Queensland's Lockyer Valley are facing devastating losses after a hailstorm caused an estimated $30 million in crop damage and an additional $20 million in infrastructure damage.
The storm, with hail and wind described as "intense" and covering about five kilometers, wreaked havoc on crops ranging from pumpkins and melons to green beans and sweet corn. Approximately 35 to 40 growers were affected, and the storm comes at a challenging time for the farming community, still recovering from floods last year. The region was already struggling due to low vegetable prices and a challenging production period. The hailstorm is another blow to an industry trying to rebound.
The Lockyer Valley Mayor highlighted the severe impact, emphasizing that the farming community, already facing hardships, was hit hard. Some farms are employing up to 60 people, and there are concerns about the financial strain and job losses in the aftermath. The timing is particularly unfortunate as growers were hoping to recover from a tough winter-spring production period. The storm has left fields devastated, with debris scattered along highways.
The affected farms are seeking assistance, with calls for the army to be brought in to help clear and rebuild damaged infrastructure. The situation has further heightened concerns about the vulnerability of the region's agricultural sector, which plays a crucial role in the local economy.