Drought into flooding rain for Singleton dairy farmers

Singleton River rises 12.16 metres to inundate parts of Wake's Whittingham dairy farm

Dairy
HAY, IT'S RAINING: Farmer Mark Foy at Osterley, near Maitland. The Hunter River is expected to peak at Maitland on Friday afternoon. Picture: Simone De Peak

HAY, IT'S RAINING: Farmer Mark Foy at Osterley, near Maitland. The Hunter River is expected to peak at Maitland on Friday afternoon. Picture: Simone De Peak

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Shifting cattle and feeding them silage as the pasture disappeared under flood water, Mr Wake said he was still grateful the situation wasn't worse.

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It was so close to a lucky escape for Max Wake's property.

After he poured "an inch a day for five days" from his rain gauge, the Hunter River finally decided to tip some of its swollen self into his dairy farm outside Singleton.

READ MORE:Floodwater smashes farmers on Mid North Coast

Shifting cattle and feeding them silage as the pasture disappeared under flood water, Mr Wake said he was still grateful the situation wasn't worse after the river rose 12.16 metres to inundate parts of his Whittingham property.

He said he lost no silage, but that the water had "backed up" to where it was stored.

"It's bad enough, but it's not like 2007 when we had no land out of the water," Mr Wake said.

"It's just a pity that it came up that extra half a metre."

Over the river in nearby Scotts Flat, the lucky escape seemed complete.

John Redgrove said his property at Scotts Flat was in good shape on Thursday, coming out of the days of rain "pretty unscathed".

With the river dropping on Tuesday afternoon, he said it was only "band-aid stuff" as a result of the deluge he had to deal with on his riverfront property.

"It was probably the closest flood we ever got without getting one," he said.

"It was probably within a metre of everything being under."

The State Emergency Service said Singleton's river levels peaked on Tuesday at 12.2 metres, with a 7.3-metre peak expected in Maitland on Friday afternoon.

Strong winds about three weeks earlier had knocked some of his crops around, a problem the rain had not helped, but Mr Redgrove said the situation would have been much worse had it been floods rather than rain on his land.

"[The rain] has damaged a lot of corn, a lot of lucerne but that's all band-aid stuff," he said.

"If we'd got a flood like those people up the coast, we'd be in a lot of trouble."

Leonie Ball and husband Greg, the president of Singleton Beef and Land Management Associaton, said some outlying areas had been grateful for the rain after the region had gone "from hell to heaven" in recent months.

"I think that's what has spared Singleton, Maitland and beyond is the Upper Hunter doesn't get that coastal rain," she said.

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