Flooding ruins pastures

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE: Great Marlow farmer Greg Nichols in front of his flooded field that water has not drained from after the recent rain. Photo Adam Hourigan
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE: Great Marlow farmer Greg Nichols in front of his flooded field that water has not drained from after the recent rain. Photo Adam Hourigan

BLOCKED flood drains could lead to a loss of winter feed for cattle on properties on the outskirts of Grafton says a farmer.

Great Marlow farmer Greg Nichols said a large section of his property is still under water because of drains taking water from low lying areas to the Clarence River have not been maintained properly.

Mr Nichols said other farmers on the highly productive land are also affected by the floodwater, which could take months to go.

He said he could lose between a third and a half of his productive land to the inundation.

"Once it gets sodden, the grass sours and the land takes months to get back to where it needs to be," he said.

"We won't have any grass there over winter. It won't be until spring that we'll get any growth once the water goes."

Mr Nichols accused the Clarence Valley Council of falling behind in its maintenance schedule.

But council's director corporate, governance and works, Troy Anderson disagrees.

He said staff had responded to Mr Nichols's calls earlier this week and inspected the drains.

He agreed the water was not draining adequately, but said there were other reasons than lack of maintenance.

"There are some unauthorised works on the property put in a by a previous owner which are causing a blockage," he said.

"Because there is no council easement on the property, removing those is the responsibility of the landowner."

Mr Anderson said after the February 2013 flood council had physically removed an area of sand blocking the drain.

He said there was also a regular maintenance budget which allowed for chemical clearing of weeds.

"For a while the river height was such it was stopping the drain from working," Mr Anderson said. "The property is also on the lowest level in the flood plain."

Topics:  flooding, pastures, southgate

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