OUR SAY: We can’t just count on the rain
IT’S been a difficult couple of years for farmers across the Fraser Coast, in particular the region’s cane growers.
Not only do they have to hope for rain, but rain in the right amounts at the right time of the year.
Last year, pretty much any rain would have been welcome.
It was one of the driest year’s on record for the region.
That led to a crush total of 592.000 tonnes at the MSF Sugar Maryborough mill, far less than the bumper harvest of 800,000 tonnes in 2018.
This year’s total may not exceed last years – that we do not know yet.
But the timely rain has certainly saved the region’s farmers from total disaster.
The lift in international sugar prices has also given cane farmers a much-needed boost.
While relief from the skies is always welcome, the downpours we have received highlight that fact that when it rains, there needs to be ways of collecting as much water as possible for the times when it will be dry.
More water storage is needed urgently so that the region’s canefarmers aren’t at the whim of unreliable weather patterns.
Irrigation has stood between our farmers and total disaster many times.
The problem is, there is limited water available and when it runs out, little farmers can do to ensure their crop continues to grow and thrive.
One wonders how many years this will continue to be an issue before providing water storage becomes a priority across all levels of government.
We live in a dry nation and its time to do more.