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Flood debris clogs harvesters and mills

Eliza Rogers, Monday July 22, 2013 - 09:12 EST
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Cane farmers in the Wide Bay have been coming across very unwelcome surprises during harvest. - ABC

It's the task every flood-affected cane farmer was dreading - harvest.

Ex Tropical Cyclone Oswald destroyed up to 90 per cent of some crops across southern Queensland, and swept logs, tin and even furniture into fields.

Now the debris is proving a headache for harvesters and millers.

Burnett Heads cane and vegetable farmer Francis Attard was hit by three tornadoes and has found tin, fencing, chairs and wheelie bins in his cane.

He said it's disruptive and costly.

"They've got to stop every time they find something, we haven't had anyone walking ahead this year - it all costs money."

He said they have to remove and dump it, but there's no guarantee that will be free of charge.

The flood debris isn't just affecting farmers - sugar mills are dealing with extra mud and timber in their deliveries.

David Pickering from Bundaberg Sugar says it's slowed processing a bit.

"We had some tin through at Millaquin (Mill), and as far as mud levels, yeah, they're a little higher this year, so that's slowed us down a little. Probably just drops it about 20 per cent on rate when we get a lot of mud through, it just depends on, if there's a shower of rain, then we slow down more around those days."

Canegrowers says many farmers will have to resort to cane burning during and after harvest.

Industry says the weather events have not had a bad impact on CCS (sugar content) values.


© ABC 2013

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