Home NewsAustralia A ‘big year’ for yabbies as Riverland farmers spread Christmas cheer ahead of flood peak

A ‘big year’ for yabbies as Riverland farmers spread Christmas cheer ahead of flood peak

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Summer time in South Australia’s Riverland is synonymous with catching yabbies, however this yr business fisherman Garry Warrick might have the waterways to himself.

With River Murray flows into South Australia anticipated to peak simply after Christmas, the state government announced a ban on all recreational water activity between the New South Wales-Victoria border and Wellington.

After some preliminary fear, Mr Warrick was happy to study companies that relied on the river had been exempt from the ban.

“I am very pleased that I get to function,” he mentioned.

“It is the busiest time of yr with lots of people with orders in for his or her yabbies for Christmas.”

Mr Warrick, who has been concerned with fishing for greater than 30 years, is one among simply six business licence holders in a position to take yabbies.

He mentioned cooler water flowing down from the Darling River had led to a gradual begin to the season.

“In the meanwhile it is up and down a bit with the cooler climate — so we’re in all probability getting 40 to 50 kilograms a day,” Mr Warrick mentioned.

Garry Warrick fishing yabbies in SA's Riverland
Mr Warrick is one among simply six business licence holders in a position to take yabbies.(ABC Rural: Tom Nancarrow )

“That is in all probability quite a bit lower than regular, however because the climate warms up it ought to get higher.”

Whereas floodwaters brought on a lot devastation and many adjustments this yr, Mr Warrick mentioned his preparations for the season remained the identical and the yabbies had been suitable for eating.

“The place they’re coming from, it is good clear yabbies for the time being,” he mentioned.

“There is not any blackwater round but — may very well be in a while — [you’ve] simply gotta be certain that they’re cooked in good salt water and cooled down in ice slurry saltwater.”

Mr Warrick mentioned he anticipated yabby numbers to extend as soon as the flood waters receded, with the state authorities’s projections exhibiting flows might drop under 150 gigalitres by mid-January. 

“Will probably be a giant yr — 2016 was the final affordable yabby yr we had.”

“I did not fish for yabbies for about ten years through the millennium drought, however the final [decade] we have had respectable yabby seasons.”

A man holds a yabby in his hands with it's pincers outstretched.
Mr Warrick says he expects yabby numbers to blow up when the flows lower. (ABC Rural: Eliza Berlage)

Spirit of Christmas

On their farm at Wonuarra simply off the Sturt Freeway, Ed and Margaret Simpfendorfer have been promoting Christmas timber to Riverland residents.

Regardless of the area’s give attention to flood preparations, they mentioned there was no scarcity of consumers.

Ed and Margaret Simpfendorfer wearing red shirts and red santa hats stand next to an aleppo pine.
Ed and Margaret Simpfendorfer are the one Christmas tree farmers within the Riverland

“It looks as if the identical as final yr, individuals are preparing for Christmas,” Mr Simpfendorfer mentioned.

“It is grow to be an actual custom, with children working up and down the rows looking for a tree to take residence to adorn.”

The couple purchased the blended farm in 1980 when it grew vines, stone fruit and pistachios.

They turned to rising Aleppo pine and native pine timber about 25 years in the past as a retirement project.

“We normally get individuals from Mildura, Waikerie — across the Riverland cities in fact — and we had one offered from Port Augusta, however that is the furthest we have been,” Mr Simpfendorfer mentioned.

An old white man, Ed Simpfendorfer, in a red santa hat holds up some baby aleppo pine trees.
Mr Simpfendorfer says he loves propagating christmas timber, particularly due to the enjoyment they carry.(ABC Rural: Eliza Berlage)

Excessive above the Murray River, set again from the golden limestone cliffs, the Simpfendorfers depend themselves fortunate they will see the water spill out throughout the flood plains at a secure distance.

The State Emergency Service estimated about 4,000 hectares of agricultural land would be impacted by floodwaters by the top of December.

However for Mr Simpfendorfer, the wetter yr was a boon to his beloved timber.

“I trim them 3 times a yr, however this yr as a result of it has been such a superb rising season I trimmed them 4 instances,” he mentioned.

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