Fairfax Media Network

Weather News

Queensland farmers throw rain party

Eliza Rogers, Wednesday March 5, 2014 - 18:07 EDT
ABC image
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 2014

More breaking news

ABC News
Sydney Morning Herald
National Nine News
News Limited

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

Call to help hot and thirsty birds, wildlife survive during high temperatures

18:51 EDT

The old saying is that you know it is hot when birds start falling out of the sky.

Hot spring across NSW

17:56 EDT

El Nino reared its head this spring, delivering a scorcher to New South Wales.

Northern Territory pastoralists reflect on strong year for prices and new markets

17:47 EDT

Record prices, new export markets and rain ?? from the Tanami Desert to the Roper Gulf, and Daly Waters to the MacDonnell Ranges, four Northern Territory pastoralists have shared the ups and downs of 2015 with ABC Rural.