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