With Christmas closing in it has been a very harrowing end to the 2010 crushing season with just under a million tonnes left in the paddocks.
A third of the year has seen the district inundated with rain, with no chance of paddocks drying out so that work could be carried on. Planting is not completed, fertilizing is not done, and there is a prolific growth of weeds and more feral pests. It seems to be never ending.
Quite a few varieties of cane are dying from smut particularly where it is wet – Q 157, Q 158, Q 174 and Q 204. Last week approximately 4,000 hectares of highly susceptible smut varieties was still standing and highly likely it won’t make a crop for next year.
Growers are aware that we have a permit to bait with Racumen in bait stations, and for the use of Ratoff. The only stipulation is that growers have to notify the Productivity Board as to the amount used.
Mound planting has had a positive result in Abergowrie because of the wet conditions although it doesn’t work so well when conditions are dry.
The retail sector in our small town is struggling for survival and hasn’t really recovered from 2008/ 2009 floods. With the continuing rains they will be feeling quite challenged as the ramifications of leaving so much cane behind will present problems for the district in 2011 and beyond. Already there have been staff layoffs.
What can one say as we end the year because it has been one of the most challenging? I wish everyone the compliments of the festive season; may the holidays be safe ones and take care on the roads. Next year will again be one to be reckoned with and I know we will take on the challenge with great fortitude. Farmers are a stoic lot.
Ron Kirkwyk retires from the Productivity Board this year. We wish him all the very best and thank him for his valuable input over the years.
Herbert Region Director