BRUTAL STORM: Dave Weier inspects his kiwi fruit vines after a savage hailstorm on Thursday.
BRUTAL STORM: Dave Weier inspects his kiwi fruit vines after a savage hailstorm on Thursday. John Towells

$150,000 worth of kiwi fruit smashed in storm

A KIWIFRUIT farmer who nurtured his orchard through devastating drought and freezing winter conditions, has now seen all his hard work fall at his feet.

Dave Weier's orchard at Acacia Plateau, just south of Killarney, was shattered by a severe hailstorm which battered the region on Thursday.

"I battled with water, trying to stop them freezing, then we got rain and they're the best they've ever looked and now they're shocking," he said.

Mr Weier was at a meeting when he received a phone call from his wife Kim, breaking the news about the storm.

He knew there was nothing he could do but, as soon as he drove home and saw the large hail on the road, he knew his orchard was going to be a mess.

Mr Weier lost his entire four-hectare crop, estimating the loss to be between $150,000-200,000.

He'll also have to pay about $20,000-30,000 for workers to help prune back the vines and it'll be about two years until they bear fruit again.

 

Kim Weier shows off hail stones that demolished kiwi fruit crops on Thursday afternoon.
Kim Weier shows off hail stones that demolished kiwi fruit crops on Thursday afternoon. John Towells

Mr Weier said it was lucky he had a full-time job as an electrician to keep income flowing.

But he vowed to continue nurturing the orchard because he had a passion for growing kiwifruit.

"We're still smiling, it's just one of those things. If you want to be stressed, it'll do your head in," he said.

But on top of time and costs associated with regrowing his crop, Mr Weier said farmers were also battling imported fruit.

"The imports are cheap so our product has got to match the same price," he said.

"So you can't put aside anything for a rainy day because you're selling for less than it takes to produce."

Mr Weier said it was vital to support Australian fruit growers so farms could survive into the future.