Carrot fields destroyed
CONSUMERS can expect a hike in fruit and vegetable prices around May as some Queensland farmers face years of struggle dealing with the fallout from Cyclone Debbie.
Scenic Rim business Kalfresh had about 40.4ha worth of carrots, beans and pumpkin ripped from the ground as the remnants of Debbie made their way into the south-east last Thursday.
Across other parts of Queensland, crop damage could cause a price hike for consumers buying tomatoes, capsicums, beans, pumpkins and melons.
Kalfresh director Robert Hinrichsen, 48, said there would be a significant loss of vegetables in this year’s winter harvest.
“Carrots are our bread and butter and we’ve had a lot of investment washed away,” he said.
“Around $1000 an acre was planted and that’s pretty much all gone now.
“It’s not an un-significant loss.”
The farms won’t be able to simply re-plant the seeds either, Mr Henrichsen said, because the top soil has all washed away.
“You just can’t re-plant carrots back into this ground because the top soil has washed away,” he said.
“The ground has become very hard and vegetables won’t grow in it.
“We’ll look to grow something, like corn, to replenish the soil.
“And that could take a few years.”
The heartache follows a devastating loss in 2013 for the local business which lost not only crops but farm infrastructure.
Mr Henrichsen said this year’s flood destroyed more crops than the last time.
“We planted the week the rain came,” he said.
“The thing with this flood is just the untimely nature of it.”
The Queensland Farmers’ Federation has estimated the damage to fruit and vegetable crops at more than A$100 million.
The result for consumers could be a price spike next month when the crops would have arrived on supermarket shelves, the NFF said.
Industry sources said widespread damage to mango trees in north Queensland could affect prices next summer and beyond.
HUGE LOSS: Owner of Kalfresh Robert Hinrichsen examines his damaged carrot crop.