Australian fruit growers in NSW fear floods will ruin crops

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Australian fruit growers in NSW fear floods will ruin crops

Heavy downpours in  Australia's New South Wales state have hit fruit farmers hard, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.

Floodwaters are continuing to spread across a large area of south west of the state with Riverina communities expecting major problems from the Murrumbidgee River.

In the Riverina's horticulture hub, record rainfall over the weekend caused the main canal at Leeton to spill over flooding orchards, vineyards and cotton, rice and soybean crops.

Valencia orange farmer Frank Mercuri, who is in the middle of harvesting, said his crops are in real trouble.

"Where the water is touching now you'll loose all the crop this year, they'll all fall off and possibly a little bit higher and they get this fungus disease and they all fall off," he was quoted as saying.

Wine grape growers in the Riverina say the flood is disastrous for their harvest.

The floodwater has breached levy banks at Hanwood near Griffith and grape bunches are under water.

Wine Grape Marketing Board chairman Bruno Brombal, said the region has lost 20% of the crop.

He added that the floods combined with low prices meant a third of the Riverina growers will have to pull up their vines.

"The best season was before the rain and since the rain here it's been the worst season," he was quoted as saying.

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