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No energy, no milking, no water: Gippsland farmers and residents struggle to keep the lights on

Thousands of houses, companies and farms in Gippsland stay with out energy with traces at petrol stations sourcing gas to energy back-up mills. 

An influence outage is an issue on dairy farms, as cows require common milking to keep manufacturing. 

More than 100,000 Victorians stay with out energy as widespread storms and floods took out energy infrastructure.

Joe and Chanel Bowden’s farm at Won Wron in South Gippsland misplaced energy and neighbour Paul Mumford is milking their cows for them.

“We couldn’t let the cows dry off, which is what would happen if we didn’t milk them,” Mr Bowden mentioned.

“We approached Paul and he was happy for us to walk our cows to his place, and we are very grateful that he can milk our cows because he’s got a generator at his place.”

The Bowdens have additionally misplaced energy to their house, which has reduce off the water provide as nicely.

tractor next to milk truck on dairy farm
The tractor getting used to run a generator at Paul Mumford’s dairy.(

ABC Gippsland: Peter Somerville


“We haven’t had a wash for a while,” Ms Bowden mentioned.

“We’ve had to change around some of the taps to get some water through. We’ve got some cold water coming through now and boiling water for dishes.”

Mr Mumford is milking three herds of cattle at his Won Wron dairy, with the Bowdens not the solely neighbours requiring assist.

Mr Mumford, the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria president, has a generator to energy his dairy in order that manufacturing can proceed.

“This is the first time we’ve milked neighbours’ cows. It’s been the longest period that I know of. 

“This one is enduring, which is exhibiting the huge harm proper throughout the state.”

A red hay rake is submerged up to the top of its wheels in flood water.
John Allen’s agricultural equipment submerged in floodwater at Cowwarr.(

Supplied: John Allen


Rebecca Cooper manages another farm that has also sent its cows to the Mumford’s property to be milked.

She said it could cost the farm business around $1,000 per day in lost income.

Leongatha resident Debbie told ABC Gippsland she was calling on her husband’s mobile phone, as her phone was out of battery.

She said her husband worked at a dairy farm, which was hoping to have a generator set up for milking later today.

“All the supermarkets had been closed in Leongatha yesterday, there was simply nothing,” she said.

“And the service station was like the largest automobile park I’ve seen in all my life. There was a line to get in there. It was simply unreal to see.”

Picture of a submerged farm paddock. The water level is almost at the top of the farm fence at the edge of the paddock.
The flood waters declare certainly one of John Allen’s paddocks at Cowwarr.(

ABC Gippsland: Peter Somerville


Farm equipment submerged

Gippsland farmers hit by this week’s floods are assessing the extent of the damage to their properties and infrastructure.

In the region there were varied experiences, with flooding in some catchments less damaging than anticipated, while others were less fortunate.

John Allen runs an agricultural contracting business and farms 120 hectares of land along the Thomson River and Rainbow Creek near Cowwarr.

Yesterday he had three mobs of cattle isolated by the floodwaters.

“They’re all fairly proper at the second,” Mr Allen mentioned.

“We’ll have to get in there and get some short-term fences up, as a result of it appears prefer it’s a reasonably messy flood and there’s going to be a good bit of injury out of it.”

wet sheep near swollen creek
Wet sheep on the outskirts of Traralgon watch as the Traralgon Creek rises, with a second evacuate now order issued in two days.(

Supplied: Kristen Lynette Westley


However, the machinery used to run his agricultural contracting business was also partly submerged.

“Hopefully it does not do an excessive amount of harm, however I’m going to have to change a couple of wheel bearings and change some oils in some gearboxes and be sure that’s alright,” he said.

“I will not know till later on once we go to use it if there’s any important harm from it.”

Dodged a bullet

Anthony and Prue Cliff spent yesterday preparing for the arrival of the floodwaters, which in a bad flood can come into their house.

However, Mr Cliff said in this case it was a “excellent final result”.

Picture of a farmer wearing a raincoat standing in front of flooded paddocks.
Flooding on Anthony Cliff’s farm on the Avon River south of Stratford wasn’t as bad as he had feared.(

ABC Gippsland: Peter Somerville


“It most likely took us three or 4 hours to make a giant mess and elevate every part up, nevertheless it’ll now most likely take us two weeks to get all of it again down and again to regular,” Mr Cliff said.

“But we’ll use it as a little bit of a possibility to clear issues up and watch for the subsequent east coast low … at any time when that occurs.”

While it was much less than expected, Mr Cliff said he would still have to clean up some damaged fences close to the river.

Dam storage mitigates flooding

Lake Glenmaggie, a dam operated by Southern Rural Water, was able to mitigate some of the flooding for those downstream on the Macalister River.

The dam historically fills and empties each year, providing irrigation water to farms downstream in the Macalister Irrigation District.

It was at 37 per cent earlier in the week, however operators anticipated it to fill this weekend.

John Allen rain gague in flood water at Cowwarr
Gippsland farmer John Allen can’t reach his rain gauge because it’s surrounded by floodwater.(

Supplied: John Allen


“We shall be making some comparatively small releases from Glenmaggie over the weekend and a bit past, however they will not generate at this stage any floodwaters downstream of themselves,” Southern Rural Water managing director Cameron Fitzgerald said.

“From the perspective of [those] downstream of Glenmaggie, it has been fairly good and hopefully units our farmers up for an incredible season over the subsequent summer time.”

#Note:- Author Name:- Peter Somerville

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