Cy­clone im­pacts mixed

Farms dam­aged, de­mand up

Central and North Burnett Times - - RURAL WEEKLY - Liana Turner Stan­thorpe Bor­der Post

THE Gran­ite Belt may have es­caped the worst of the state’s flood­ing in the wake of ex-Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie, but the re­gion has not es­caped its im­pacts.

Some farm­ers have been hit hard by the del­uge, while oth­ers have seen de­mand in­crease.

Gran­ite Belt Fruit Freighters op­er­a­tions man­ager Rod­ney Abra­ham said while they had mi­nor de­lays due to the flood­ing, other farm­land be­ing hit by the cy­clone had left some lo­cal crops in high de­mand.

“Fri­day morn­ing we were a lit­tle bit de­layed,” he said.

He said some trucks had to take the long route to Bris­bane via Toowoomba, and some had to wait in War­wick for sev­eral hours.

He said some of their sup­pli­ers had been im­pacted by the weather.

“I think for most of the grow­ers, even though the rain was good, I think it was a lit­tle bit too much for this time of year be­cause they’re right in the peak pick­ing time,” he said.

How­ever, with north­ern grow­ing re­gions like Bowen hit hard, Mr Abra­ham said some Gran­ite Belt pro­duc­ers were ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a spike in de­mand.

“There’s a bit of de­mand for toma­toes at the mo­ment, and cap­sicums,” he said.

“(Other re­gions) were about to start in the next month or so but the cy­clone has put a damp­ener on that now.”

Chris Wren, of Wrens Val­ley Pro­duce, said things were look­ing bad for his Stan­thorpe broc­col­ini farm.

Mr Wren said there had been no op­por­tu­nity for them to spray or fer­tilise the crops dur­ing the heavy rain.

“As a con­se­quence the pro­duc­tion is way, way down to the point I’ve got to put off 8–10 staff,” he said.

Mr Wren said there was a sil­ver lin­ing; their wa­ter stor­age was full and ready for next sea­son.

Gran­ite Ridge Wines co-owner Ju­liane Ferguson said they had not been too badly im­pacted.

“It was not timed well for our reds, which we are pick­ing at the mo­ment,” she said.

“It prob­a­bly has slowed the ripen­ing down a lit­tle.”

She said the cool weather would also slow down the ripen­ing process.

Martin Cooper, of Ridgemill Es­tate, said all of the grapes had now been picked, de­spite a de­lay.

But four new cab­ins they planned to put in place on their property had to wait, as the ground was too wet to bring them in.

Mr Cooper said they had started with ren­o­vat­ing their ex­ist­ing accommodation in the mean­time.

Tim Car­nell, from Kirra Pines, said their toma­toes and cap­sicums had been im­pacted, but not too dra­mat­i­cally.

“We fared okay,” he said. “But I think the rain, over­all, was very much needed af­ter that heat.”

He said the full wa­ter stor­age would make it worth­while.

“You have to en­dure a bit of short-term dam­age to achieve that,” he said.

PHOTO: LIANA TURNER

SUP­PLY AND DE­MAND: Rod­ney Abra­ham, at Gran­ite Belt Fruit Freighters, said some crops were in very high de­mand in the wake of Cy­clone Deb­bie.

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