IMPROVING road access and repairing damaged paddocks are two big priorities for upper Eyre Peninsula graingrowers battered by last week's storms in which up to 300mm fell in some places.
With seeding kicking off in mid-April for most of the district, Grain Producers SA board member Peta Willmott - who farms at Koongawa as well as just south and west of Kimba - said getting this year's crop in would be one of the keys to economic recovery.
She said some paddocks wouldn't be able to be cropped this year, while others needed extensive earthmoving after heavy rainfall cut large watercourses through paddocks.
"There'll be a lot of earthmoving needed to make paddocks usable again," Mrs Willmott said.
"There is also a focus in the district on roads because we have to get machinery and produce in and out and if we can't do any of that we can't really start work on paddocks.
"The local road networks are pretty shot."
With concerns about available labour and road accessibility, and with gullies gouged through multiple adjoining properties in many cases, Mrs Willmott said it would take a coordinated approach to fix them.
GPSA is undertaking a Farm Impact Assessment Survey to inform decision makers and Mrs Willmott said the body's main focus was doing whatever it took to help people get this year's crop in on time.
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Primary Industries Minister David Basham visited the EP and Kangaroo Island over the past week to hear from farmers and councils affected by storm damage and flooding.
He said there was significant damage to key infrastructure including roads and his department was working with other government agencies to assist where they could.
"PIRSA staff are out this week doing in-field assessments with landholders," Mr Basham said.
"Assessment of the impact of agricultural losses is underway and we will work with industry to determine how best to assist primary producers to plan their recovery once we know the extent of the impact.
"This will include proving information on how to manage pooled water and erosion impacts."
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Having received more than 180mm over the course of last weekend and a further 27mm in 35 minutes on Monday night, Darke Peak farmer Barry Schubert said there was a "fair bit of damage" to paddocks.
Mr Schubert said there were three new large gullies across paddocks, cut by heavy rainfall, that would need filling in, while a couple of pre-existing creeks (including the one pictured) were now twice as wide and deep as they were previously.
"They've washed out heaps and in patches would be 12 to 14-foot deep," he said.
"As a result of that, there's a lot of wash sand, sticks and trees and everything else strewn across paddocks.
"We'd have ten hectares of that, plus a 40ha paddock with four lagoons in it. The biggest lagoon would be a hectare in size with waist-deep water and will likely still be there at seeding time."
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