Best crop in 30 years hampered by deluge
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.
Barrett Creek near Daintree at the weekend