Turf farm goes under water again

Waterlogged: A lake of floodwater again covered the Orara Turf farm yesterday.
Waterlogged: A lake of floodwater again covered the Orara Turf farm yesterday.

IF anyone understands the frustration of flooding it’s Bill Wilson.

In a real hard luck story, his company, Orara Turf, at Dairyville, has been crippled by floods over the past three years, highlighting the gamble that is farming.

Yesterday , Bill and his family again woke to find their riverside property under water.

“Whilst 2009 was terrible given the volume of rain, most people are oblivious to the fact that last year, whilst we had 650 to 700mm less rain, we actually had about 25 or so more rain days,” Bill said.

“In our case and many other businesses, that was just a continuation of the previous year. We won’t survive another year of rain,” he said while reflecting on the recent rain.

In 2009, the property was hit by six floods in nine months.

Constant heavy downpours and the raging Orara River reduced the turf farm to mud, spoiling most of the company’s 25,000 square metres of turf plantings.

“Whilst we got things replanted after the damage, it was only mid to late last year that our crops came back on line and now this.

“Other green industries, such as nurseries, landscape yards, landscapers, lawn mowing contractors, builders, earthmovers and so on, have all been impacted so spare a thought for local businesses.”

Every time the turf farm is flooded, the dirt and mud has to be scraped off and the remaining turf treated with herbicides before the seeds of another crop are replanted.

For the Wilsons it’s been a constant cycle of clearing flood-ravaged plantings.

“I know there’s nothing anyone can do and once again, thankfully, it’s only business-related and not costing lives, but it is our livelihoods,” he said.

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