Farmers in Queensland have spoken of the recent crop damage caused by heavy rainfall and say it has they have lost millions of dollars worth of their produce, as reported by abc.net.au.
Two weeks ago over one hundred millimetres of rain fell in the Wide Bay Burnett region, this just over a fortnight after October recorded the wettest day in history. Many farmers have reported significant crop damage, with the costs estimated in the millions.
Many farmers in the area of spoken out over the damage, with Wayne Smith, a local grain farmer in the Monto, North Burnett area, saying that farms around the region have been overcome by the recent weather.
"We had wheat, it was about two weeks off harvest and what hasn't gone under water the seed has sprouted in the head unfortunately,", Wayne said.
"On the Three Moon and surrounding tributaries it's been another disaster, it's costing us hundreds of thousands of dollars….Where do we go from here? We're just not too sure … some have been hit really hard.", he added.
Mr. Smith added that there were legitimate fears over the lasting financial impacts of the weather, not to mention the emotional strains.
"Even those who have been here for many years could never have anticipated that we would have a series of floods like this...It's going to affect this town badly because the crops around Monto were either ready to harvest or only a couple of weeks off.”, he said.
Smith says that chickpeas, wheat and barley have been the main affected crops in the area. Managing director of Austchilli, David de Paoli, said these consecutive storms have cost him millions of dollars. De Paoli, A chilli and Avocado farmer, said it is getting to a ridiculous stage now and predicted it won’t be long until a metres rain has fallen.
"It's getting to the point, it's ridiculous now, it won't be far off a metre of rain.”, he said.
He said the plants are now immersed in mud and says they can only survive this for a few days before they die. It is estimated that over a quarter of the sugarcane crop in the locality have been destroyed. Growers have been left in limbo and unsure whether they are able to finish the crush.
Sugar cane and small crops:
The chairman of Bundaberg Canegrowers, Allan DIngle, has said that it could be over two week until farmers are in a position to return to their paddocks to harvest. He said there is a real possibility that some of the cane might not get harvested.
"There's a real possibility that some of that cane may not get harvested, it really depends on what the weather does….We would have dearly liked to have been finished by mid-November … we're not even going to be close to then.", he said.
Small crops have also being severely affected by the weather, with some farmers unable to harvest. Allan Mahoney, Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers chairman, said the wet weather is going to end up impacting supplies, with summer produce in particular.
"We're looking at a lot of fruit drop at the moment … a lot of erosion, damage to work already done, a lot of irrigation problems and a lot of crops under water," he stated.
"A lot of spring crops and new plantings are in ready for summer, all the melon varieties, blueberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, some zucchinis, sweet potato, capsicums, there's a massive range of commodities in production.
"You'd assume there would be shortages from the Bundaberg region, it's [a matter of] just what other regions can cover our losses.", he concluded.