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Millions of dollars worth of crops lost as second deluge batters Bundaberg

Kallee Buchanan, Wednesday October 18, 2017 - 17:49 EDT
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Small crops, such as these zucchinis, were ready to harvest when the rain hit. - ABC

Farmers in Queensland say they've lost millions of dollars worth of crops in the second heavy rainfall event in as many weeks.

Hundreds of millimetres have fallen in the Wide Bay Burnett region, just two weeks after the area had the on record.

Grain grower Wayne Smith said farms around Monto in the North Burnett have been inundated.

"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," he 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 said the were fears in the community about the lasting emotional and economic impact of the wet weather.

"Even those who have been here for many years could never have anticipated that we would have a series of floods like this," he said.

"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.

"Chickpeas, barley, and wheat and basically it's been destroyed."

Chilli and avocado grower David de Paoli said the most recent event had caused at least a million dollars in losses.

"It's getting to the point, it's ridiculous now, it won't be far off a metre of rain," he said.

"This is it, the last time we had that 350mm it was quick and fast and furious it caused structural damage and soil erosion but this one's costing us our crop.

"They're sitting in mud and a plant can only handle so many days in mud before it says too late, I gotta die."

About a quarter of the district's sugar cane crop was still in the field, and growers were unsure if they'll be able to finish the crush.

Bundaberg Canegrowers chairman Allan Dingle said it would be weeks before some farmers could get onto their paddocks to harvest.

"That's really going to throw a spanner in the works to where we go from here," he said.

"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."

Small crops ready to harvest have also been severely affected by the deluge.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers chairman Allan Mahoney said the wet would impact supply, especially of summer produce.

"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 said.

"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."


© ABC 2017

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