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Relief for thirsty cane crops in Mackay region

Suzannah Baker, Tuesday January 21, 2014 - 14:04 EDT
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Solid rain welcomed in the Mackay region following hot and dry conditions putting pressure on the sugar cane crop. - ABC

Some farmers in Queensland's sugar cane growing regions are rejoicing recent rainfalls.

In the Mackay region, 200 mm fell overnight at Gargett and over 100 mm at Eungella.

Gary Parkinson has a cane farm at Finch Hatton where he received 70 mm last night.

He says it's a welcome reprieve for growers in the area with January a vital growing time for the crop.

"Everyone has been a bit anxious waiting for the rain."

He says the recent heat has held the cane back from developing.

"I've seen it before though, it will pick up again.

"For those who've been irrigating they've got a nice crop coming on, but a lot of people sat and waited and I'm one of them."

Most growers with irrigation capabilities have been constantly watering and putting pressures on supplies.

But Mr Parkinson says he's avoided irrigating because of the huge electricity costs.

However further north thirsty cane crops still haven't received the rain many growers had hoped for at the start of the week.

Irrigators in the Burdekin are still on tenterhooks, but there are reports of some useful "scuds" of rainfall adding up to around 30 mm in the past two days.

This has helped to alleviate some pressure on an irrigation system struggling to keep up with demand.

The Herbert district is also struggling for rain.

Patchy showers have fallen with 21mm recorded at Trebonne and 36mm at the Ingham depot alert.

Far north growers are still waiting on more rain which is being forecast over the weekend.

The bureau of meteorology says a deep, moist easterly wind flow will generate frequent showers, rain areas and isolated thunderstorms about the eastern and far northern tropics.


- ABC

© ABC 2014

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