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Flooding hits Tassie vegetable producer

Tasmanian vegetable producer Harvest Moon suffered 15ha of destroyed leek crops when the Forth River burst its banks this month in some of the worst flooding in 26 years.

Leeks were strewn through the streets of Forth earlier this month after floodwaters caused hundreds of thousands of dollars damage to vegetable producer Harvest Moon.

The worst flood to hit the town in recent memory has devastated the business which had their offices flooded and more than 120 hectares of land submerged on Monday, June 6.

Harvest Moon agricultural director Mark Kable said that it was too early to say the exact cost of the damage but estimated it to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. He said it was the worst flooding he had seen in his 26 years in Forth.

“Probably well over 120 hectares under water,” Mr Kable said. “Our office will be out of action for two to three months.”

About 15 hectares of leek crops were destroyed but most planted crops had already been harvested prior to the floods.

Typically the producer would have 150 employees packing at the Leith Road facility but on the Monday workers were told to stay home.

A core group of staff members worked from 5am to get important supplies and equipment up to higher ground.

Despite preparation for the deluge, Mr Kable still had to endure several hours of helplessness and watch as the flood waters continued to rise. All he could do was “sit and wait and pray,” as water continued to rise, peaking just before 1pm on the Monday.

Mr Kable said the water came higher than the 2007 floods and seeped into the lower factory and offices, reaching about 1.5 metres in height. He said the council’s plastic barricade installed at the top of Leith Road was crucial to saving nearby houses from the worst of the flood.

Seasonal workers living in the houses were told to leave and provided new accommodation by Harvest Moon.

The priority of operations has now turned to getting packed produce interstate. A makeshift office has been set up in the warehouses on higher ground as staff continue to pack produce.

Source: http://www.freshplaza.com/article/159762/Flooding-hits-Tassie-vegetable-producer