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Queensland farmers throw rain party

Eliza Rogers, Wednesday March 5, 2014 - 18:07 EDT
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Thirsty crop: This picture taken in the Maryborough region shows a green arc of irrigated cane in stark contrast to poor quality unirrigated cane. - ABC

Cane farmers in south-east Queensland, struggling through their driest season on record, have thrown a 'make it rain' party to coax a downpour.

General manager of MSF Sugar's Maryborough region, Stewart Norton, says only 240mm has fallen since July last year, stunting the local crop's growth and doubling irrigation costs.

Low river levels are now cutting off major irrigation supplies, but Mr Norton says people are still hopeful.

"We thought, well, one way to make it rain is you have an outdoor party, so we're having an outdoor party.

"I talk to my CEO Mike Barry, he's been in contact with the owners about our situation here, but they are rock solid behind it.

"This region's got a great future in the sugar industry," he said.

Farmers are starting to consider drought declaration, but say it's unchartered territory and may not offer the help they need paying the power bill.

The Maryborough cane harvest typically begins in July.


- ABC

© ABC 2014

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