Queensland

Sugarcane fire toll grows

sugarcane burning stock image

Sugarcane growers in Queensland are starting to count the cost of a week of bushfires, some of which are still burning close to farming areas.

An estimated that 800 hectares of sugarcane crops has been burned in the Pioneer Valley and Blue Mountain areas near Mackay and at Carmila near Sarina.

“There are some individual growers in that tally with very heavy losses and tragically we know of one CANEGROWERS member who has lost his home and sheds along with his crop,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said.

“There are also growers who have lost valuable equipment and sheds and face a long road of clean up and recovery and CANEGROWERS will support them as best as we can.”

Most of the cane that has been burned was either new growth in ratoon crops which had been harvested in 2018 or brand-new plant cane crops.

CANEGROWERS members are covered by a crop insurance scheme as part of their annual levy and affected growers are urged to report damage to their local office.

“The fires mean weeks or months of growth toward the 2019 crop has been lost and only time will tell if the cane plant roots, known as the stool, has survived the intense heat,” Mr Galligan said.

“This has been a long, tiring and traumatic week in our state and the danger has not yet passed with fires still causing concern and the forecast predicting dry thunderstorms and the likelihood of lightening in some areas.

“We thank everyone who is continuing to fight these fires, on the ground and from the air.

“We particularly salute the many growers in our industry who have been deployed with their local rural fire brigades or volunteered to help their neighbours and communities.

“I urge all growers and their families to please make use of all of the assistance that is available to you – via the Queensland Government and your insurance policies,” Mr Galligan said.

Source: CANEGROWERS