“I’ve Never Seen Floods Like This,” Says Farmer Who Hadn’t Seen A Drought Like 2017-19 Before — The Betoota Advocate

"I've Never Seen Floods Like This," Says Farmer Who Hadn't Seen A Drought Like 2017-19 Before — The Betoota Advocate

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A local grazier told The Advocate that he’s never seen it flood like this – just a few years after he told the same reporter that he’d never seen a drought as bad as it was in 2019.

Repairing his flood fences for the tenth or twelfth time this year, sheep farmer Michael Merchant explained that the amount of water that he’s seen run past his place in the past year has simply been unprecedented.

“I mean, you’d have to be an idiot to say nothing’s happening to the climate,” he said.

The Merchants have been on “Ribbonvale” via Eromanga for generations. Decades of Michael’s father’s paddock books are on the shelves in his office.

“Dad wrote in 1978 that it was a bad year. They got their average rainfall- but in big dumps. In 2018, we got barely 10% of our annual rainfall. You should’ve seen the country. It was like one big sandhill. Unbelievable,”

“I mean, you have these cold country farmers in New South and Victoria that reckon their place ‘looks like Mars’ when they miss out on a few systems. Mate, my place was Mars. You’d never seen such poor country.”

Michael said the turn in season back in 2020 was welcome.

“It was nice to see the country come back so well. We had the chance to improve a bit of pasture. But it hasn’t stopped. We’ve gone from shooting wethers because we can’t feed them to shooting them because they’ve got foot rot. It’s a mug’s game, this farming,”

“What fucks me is that you can go from being so poor to so wet. I don’t know what it is, it’s certainly not because those rock choppers in town prayed too hard. There’s something in the climate that’s gone awry.”

More to come.

Author: Stephen Bailey