Back to back east coast lows over the Tweed Valley in New South Wales in the last fortnight has delayed the start of the region’s cane harvest.
The Tweed Canegrowers’ Association’s president Robert Hawken said the cane fields were very wet and harvesters could be kept off until next Monday.
“We’re patiently waiting for the weather to improve and we can get on with burning the cane and getting the harvest underway,” he said.
Up to 400 millimetres of rain fell over the Tweed Coast two weeks ago, and the cane fields were drenched with another 100 millimetres on the weekend when harvest was due to start.
“The ground conditions were very wet after that first east coast low and the second one just made matters worse,” Mr Hawken said.
The cane that was lodged from the heavy rain and strong winds was expected to recover.
“I don’t think there was any serious damage to the lodged cane, it doesn’t appear to be broken off and it doesn’t appear to be blown out of the ground,” he said.
“We hope that it will recover fairly well, but of course flat cane is always difficult to harvest.”
Mr Hawken said with harvesting forced back a week, the season would now end closer to Christmas and that could mean a financial cost to the industry.
“The cane that is cut later in the spring, it doesn’t have a long enough growing season and that means that it won’t be as big a crop the following year,” he said.
“We like to have our ratoons all cut by the end of November at the latest, that way the cane has time to grow.”