Darryl Cronau, on his Yerra cane farm, wishes he could save all the recent rain for when it’s needed.
Darryl Cronau, on his Yerra cane farm, wishes he could save all the recent rain for when it’s needed. Karleila Thomsen

Cane farm flooded

IT'S TOUGH for a cane farmer to knock back rain, but Darryl Cronau wants Mother Nature to turn off the taps, for a while at least.

His 500-hectare farm at Yerra, about 30km west of Maryborough, is waterlogged from the longest period of spring wet weather that he can recall.

“We've had wet periods before but not for this long at this time of year,” Mr Cronau said.

It's been a “stop-start” season for the third generation cane farmer, with about six weeks of persistent showers in August hindering progress, a machinery breakdown at the Maryborough Sugar Factory causing a week-long stoppage, and just when the sun comes out and fields start to dry, thunderstorms and regular overnight rains have caused more setbacks.

“Water is just oozing out of the fields,” he said.

“It all dried up on Sunday, just enough to start harvesting again and then more came.”

On Monday night, 33mm fell on Mr Cronau's property and 42mm on his son's neighbouring farm.

Mr Cronau said not all Fraser Coast cane farms were as affected by the rain.

“It's strange the way the storms are coming through.

“We just can't miss the rain and farms around Miva and Bauple are also copping it, but down The Pocket way, there'll be dust blowing.”

He said cane fields in the Hervey Bay area were also fairly dry.

“Farmers (affected by rain) are frustrated. They know they should be out doing something but can't and they can't keep blokes employed doing nothing.

“We're that far behind it's not funny. We were supposed to be finished harvesting by November 18.”

Mr Cronau said the wet weather had also caused the sugar to lose its sweetness and delay the start of next year's crop.

“We're behind the mill's CCS and about four per cent behind the mill in harvesting, which is just under 60 per cent.

 If only we could capture the rain and keep it for the dry times.”

However, there is some good news – sugar is fetching good prices.



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