Crushing blow to Maryborough's canegrowers
MARYBOROUGH canegrowers will face huge financial losses in this year's harvesting season.
The season is expected to begin next week with 560,000 tonnes due to be harvested - 100,000 less than last year.
Maryborough Canegrowers chairman Trevor Turner said summer's floods had devastated the region.
"In sugar sales alone, it's probably around $10 million coming out of Maryborough," he said. "It's certainly done more damage this time than it did in 2011."
Member for Maryborough Anne Maddern praised the local farmers.
"Our primary producers are some of the most resilient and innovative people," she said.
"They cope with floods, fire, hail storms, lack of rain, too much rain (and) poor prices on an ongoing basis.
"I have the greatest admiration for them and I hope and pray that this cane season will turn out to be better than we anticipate."
Ms Maddern said a range of measures had been put in place to assist farmers.
"It is also pleasing to see that the State Government has approved the utilisation of prisoners to clean up some of the cane paddocks," she said.
"The nature of the flood has meant that, in many cases, cleaning up this land requires people on the ground, rather than machinery."
Mr Turner hoped the rain forecast for this week would stay away.
"We'd like to see some dry weather leading up to the harvest," he said.
Cane farmers (and other primary producers) will have access to grants and no- or low interest loans to help them get back into production.
Application for these arrangements have been extended to November 29.