2011 has arrived and continued on from where 2010 finished off. Over the last few weeks the devastating images that we have all witnessed, of the major flooding in Central and Southern Queensland and even down to Northern New South Wales, has had a major effect on people’s lives and the sugar industry. The last thing the sugar industry needed was for a category 5 Cyclone to hit the northern part of the state.
The follow on effects of these major weather events will make the 2011 crushing season very difficult.
For the Mossman region we dodged a bullet with only a few isolated farms receiving damage to some of their early cut and plant cane blocks. The variety that has been reported to have received the most damage is Q231 with broken tops, there has also been reports of Q187 with similar damage. The persistent rain in the days that followed cyclone Yasi crossing caused flood damage to low lying fields.
At the end of last year and at the start of 2011 the Mossman region managed to receive a few dry weeks. This enabled all farmers to complete their fertilising and most of their weed and rodent control.
While it is still early in the 2011 season and we still don’t know the full extent of damage to this crop I am hopeful of a crop similar to last year, around 530,000t.
Some of the damage sustained to the 2011 crop includes:
• Excessive rainfall.
• Water logging.
• 2010 wet harvesting conditions.
• Lack of sunlight.
Local farmers are starting to receive the result of their Environment Risk Management Plans. It appears that most farmers in the Mossman region are receiving approval for 3 years with the option to refine their plan to enable them a 5 year approval.
Local growers are also reminded that a Species Management Plan for rodent control has commenced and will provide growers with better options to control rats in cane crops and surrounding harbourage areas.
Under the new Species Management Plan a damage mitigation permit is now issued automatically to Productivity Services. The baiting window has been extended by three months starting on October 1st through to the end of June. This extended window of opportunity allows effective baiting for the climbing rat which can often cause problems between March and June. Under the plan a grower is required to ensure an integrated approach with effective weed control in both crop and harbourage. He or she must assess the extent of any rat problem before baiting, and only bait with registered baits, within label restrictions. For more information please contact your local Productivity Services advisor.
Right across the sugar the industry the effects of natural disasters have taken their toll on growers and we only hope that the year finishes off better then it started.