Best crop in 30 years ham­pered by del­uge

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Madi­son Wil­liams

WHAT was shap­ing up as the re­gion’s best sugar cane crop in 30 years has been damp­ened and flat­tened by the week­end’s tor­ren­tial rain.

The ef­fect of the un­sea­sonal del­uge has been im­me­di­ate.

The Moss­man Sugar Mill, which recorded 250mm of rain­fall from Fri­day to Tues­day, has de­cided to push back the start of har­vest to June 6 to give the cane a chance to re­ju­ve­nate.

It means the mill will lose a week of crit­i­cal har­vest time right off the bat.

“All grow­ers and har­vesters who were due to har­vest next week said they can’t, so we’ve had to post­pone the start of crush­ing,” said Moss­man mill gen­eral man­ager Haydn Slat­tery.

“The rain knocked down some of the cane but it will stand back up.

“We have built into our har­vest plans an al­lowance of 10 days for wet weather.

“Un­for­tu­nately this means we lose seven days.

“Gen­er­ally we need about a week of dry weather be­fore we can be­gin har­vest­ing.

“The rain shouldn’t have had any ma­jor detri­men­tal ef­fect on the crop how­ever when it rains the CCS is gen­er­ally lower.”

Ar­eas be­tween Port Dou­glas and Dain­tree recorded sim­i­lar rain­fall rang­ing be­tween 150mm to 300mm.

The Dain­tree Vil­lage had about 210mm in 24 hours to Sun­day morn­ing.

Flood­ing at the Dain­tree’s Bar­rett Creek and Bushy Creek in Ju­lat­ten left road users fur­ther north un­able to travel.

At Whyan­beel the 71mm of week­end rain flooded roads and left party go­ers at the Dain­tree Sta­tion Rodeo stranded for pe­ri­ods of time overnight on Satur­day.

Dain­tree Sta­tion man­ager Kirsten Jeffs said the high tide and heavy rain­fall re­sulted in sev­eral road block­ages. There were pe­ri­ods of time when peo­ple couldn’t get in or later out of the prop­erty,” she said.

“We did man­age to get peo­ple in even­tu­ally and the event went ahead but we had peo­ple mon­i­tor­ing the creek and un­for­tu­nately some peo­ple couldn’t make it.”

The rain looks to be clear­ing up over the week­end but is ex­pected to re­turn on Mon­day.

On Tues­day the Bureau of Metere­ol­ogy de­clared that the El Nino weather pat­tern, the strong­est in 20 years, had ended.

Pic­ture: SUP­PLIED

Bar­rett Creek near Dain­tree at the week­end

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