Car­rot fields de­stroyed

Central and North Burnett Times - - RURAL WEEKLY - Chris Hon­nery Queens­land Times

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.

PHOTO: INGA WIL­LIAMS

HUGE LOSS: Owner of Kal­fresh Robert Hin­rich­sen ex­am­ines his dam­aged car­rot crop.

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