Floods affected cane harvest

Ross Farlow (front) and Bruce Ellem planting cane on Alan Cameron’s farm. They would now like some follow-up rain.
Ross Farlow (front) and Bruce Ellem planting cane on Alan Cameron’s farm. They would now like some follow-up rain. Adam Hourigan

LOWER river farmers are cutting through a cane harvest that is falling well short of what could be called a good year.

The crops they are stripping were affected by the floods of the past two years.

Reports from the Harwood sugar mill suggest this year's yield will be 60% below average, an assessment local cane farmer Ross Farlow agreed with.

"Some areas of the paddocks are simply empty where the cane has been destroyed by the floods," said Mr Farlow.

"We are about 60% below an average year, which is disappointing, but it's just the reality."

The harvest was at least easier than in recent years when flooded fields meant farmers had to use steel-track chaser bin vehicles to transport the cut cane.

Farmers are also planting in conjunction with the harvesting operations.

"It has just been nice to have a normal spring," said Mr Farlow.

But with the new crop going into the ground, farmers are now in need of rain for germination.

"It would be nice to have 20-30mm of rain over the next three weeks," said Mr Farlow.

With the Bureau of Meteorology predicting rain for early next week, there is hope the 2014 crop will be a bumper.

Topics:  bureau of meteorology, cane, farming, flooding, harvest, weather



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