Janet Youd and Paul Schrader with fellow ginger pickers at Goomong in the Mary Valley.
Janet Youd and Paul Schrader with fellow ginger pickers at Goomong in the Mary Valley. Craig Warhurst

New Mary Valley ginger crop plan

IT settles an upset stomach and is reputed to be helpful with arthritis and resistance to all those winter cold and flu infections.

Now, Sunshine Coast ginger growers are suggesting that their crop could also bring new economic and social benefits to the Gympie Region, especially to the dam-devastated Mary Valley.

Goomong grower Shane Templeton, who has already proven the potential of the crop in this area, said a fungus outbreak currently devastating the Sunshine Coast industry could only be addressed quickly by growers obtaining “fresh ground,” such as in the Mary Valley.

He said the fungus was “one of those things about farming.

“You fix one problem and another one comes up,” he said, explaining that the fungus had become a more intense and widespread problem in response to years of ginger farming in the Eumundi-Yandina districts.

“There’s always been a bit of interest in obtaining fresh ground for seed crops,” he said.

Mr Templeton, who also grows ginger at Kybong, said the Valley’s large areas of government-held land could be used for ginger.

Ginger cropping could bring a quick return to prosperity for many Mary Valley property owners, including the state government, Mr Templeton said.

“There should be some opportunities there for people in the not too distant future,” he said.

Buderim Ginger managing director Gerard O’Brien said the opportunities could be substantial, with fungus having written off about half the normal Sunshine Coast crop.

He said a surplus of product from last season would cover the shortfall this year, but another bad season could force the company’s Yandina factory to use imported product.

“We’ve been worried about the amount of stock we’ve been carrying, but it turned out to be a blessing,” he said.

While research was underway, it was doubtful a farming solution could be found by next year, other than by the use of fresh paddocks.

“Buderim Ginger is encouraging growers to seek virgin land in the Mary Valley,” he said, adding that soil testing had shown the area was suitable.

Mr Templeton said the fungus was something farmers were unable to control at this stage.

“The DPI has been absolutely fantastic and we’ve had good funding from the state and federal governments,” Mr Templeton said.

Do you think the Valley’s government-held land could/should be used for ginger? Tell us what you think, leave your comments below ...

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