Gary Eichmann surveys what's left of his crop.
Gary Eichmann surveys what's left of his crop. Ute Schulenberg

$50,000 washed away in floods

A COUPLE of weeks ago Bellingen dairy farmer Gary Eichmann was on cloud nine.

He'd just got a bloke from Lismore to come in and aerially seed and fertilise his paddocks.

“It cost me $50,000 but it was fantastic - in two and a half hours he did what would have taken me months to do,” Mr Eichmann told the Coffs Coast Advocate.

Now it's all but gone.

“Some of it might be okay,” Mr Eichmann said philosophically.

“But where the water sits, the grass will struggle - and this time it sat on the flats for two days.

“I couldn't believe it on Sunday morning when I looked and it had only dropped about a foot.

“It is a bit heartbreaking.”

Mr Eichmann said all three floods had been very different but the cumulative toll on the riverbank had been heavy.

“It's a real mess down there now, especially as the water level stayed so high.”

He said the break-wall at Urunga was part of the problem because it had narrowed the river mouth and according to the stories of older farmers, flooding had not been as major prior to its construction.

And the big picture?

“The price of hay will skyrocket because everyone will need to feed their stock but things will be okay by the spring. It's going to be a long three months though.”

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