Record August rainfall! 150 mm was the highest fall I have heard of and that is in a 24 hour period – a most unusual event in our region. Probably 50mm fell in the first hour during the later evening and then a wet day followed with rain decreasing until sunset.
Remembering that the Southern region had near record low rainfall for May, June and July, I have not heard anyone say it was too much. Maryborough farmers reported about 70mm, Childers area 80mm, south of the Burnett 110mm, north of Burnett 128mm and east of Bundy 148mm.
Standing crops are really impressive: some lodging, but not extensive where I have driven around.
The weather and sugar price are getting a lot of people out of the blocks and on track to plant an increasing area of sugarcane. Some wild rumours about tens of thousands of acres may be a bit optimistic, but it’s good to hear optimism and it gives our industry a bit of leverage against losing all our good operators to ‘the mines’.
The Burnett Basin Water Resource Plan is being worked on. A newsletter outlining recent developments is available from DERM. At over 6mb, the electronic version may be a bit too big to access. Try the DERM Office for a hard copy. This is separate from the Sunwater price path enquiry which is being conducted by the Queensland Competition Authority. The Burnett Plan is more of what will be done with the water by whom and includes all groundwater, surface flows and perhaps even off the house roof as well as irrigation scheme water. If I understand the intent of the Department, it is very comprehensive and a mass of administration.
Cane harvesting – up until the rain – was belting along. Some farmers started the harvest on 15’s, some on 9’s. It would seem worth spending some effort on a research project investigating why there is such CCS variation by area, for the same inputs. I think this has been studied in the past, but modern science may turn up something. Perhaps we could investigate revising the system within harvesting groups to ‘chase the sugar’.
Mills have had a few wrinkles to iron out. ISIS has had its share of rail transport incidents. This became a fairly hot topic locally as OH & S considerations were aired in the press.
Maryborough Mill made a clean start but has had to recover from a protracted stoppage. All is going again now though. Bundy Sugar had Industrial action looming but once again, this seems to have been averted by negotiation.
Now to spring planting: a final push to ditch any smut susceptible varieties is on with plough out replant being used to get new varieties in for next year. Q190 is hanging around and has never gotten any better; so with better prospects it’s going even if it may have had a ratoon or two left in it. At least we won’t need to be irrigating our plant this year which is another reason to say … ‘It’s all good’!
ACFA Southern Region Director