No rain is making 2017 'a tough one' for many

Sugar cane harvesting at Gregory River near Proserpine.
Sugar cane harvesting at Gregory River near Proserpine. Peter Carruthers

ADDING to grower problems in the wake of Cyclone Debbie this winter has been a complete shortage of liquid falling in the gauge.

Up River cane grower Peter Muller said it had been dry.

"It hasn't rained for a long time. It hasn't rained since the beginning of May," he said.

"But we have to now look forward to next year and grow your crop for next year, you can't cry over spilt milk.

"We can't hold back on inputs because that is to your detriment later on and will turn around and bite you on your ass.

"It's going to be a dry year and it's going to be an expensive year because of all the irrigation, but we can't afford not to grow out the crop for next year's coming crop.

"You just have to keep poking along and think about next year."

Median rainfall for June at the Proserpine Airport is 41.2mm - this year 1.4mm fell.

For July and August the median rainfall is 23.7mm and 25.4mm respectively.

This year 0.4mm fell in July and 2.4mm fell in August.

Mr Muller said he had been irrigating some bigger cane to keep the sugar content up before harvest, but that has now ceased.

"The cane we have watered is just not responding. We decided to keep our water aside and concentrate on next year's crop," he said.

The commercial cane sugar (CCS) is now dropping and Mr Muller said its a race to get it to the mill before there is no sugar left.

"All your bin weights are starting to get lighter and lighter and the crop is literally receding away," he said.

"Its disappearing into the ground.

"It's losing its weight, which means its losing its sugar.

"The quicker we can get it off now the better and lets hope for storms for the whole district as there is a lot of dry land farmers which are screaming."

"They are struggling to get their plant crop up let alone their returns out of the ground."

In the wake of Cyclone Debbie, up to a third of the Proserpine region's crop was lost, CCS has been affected and tonnage is down.

"It's going to be a tough one for a lot of people," Mr Muller said.

Topics:  bom dry season rain

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