CROP DAMAGE: Bundaberg Cane Growers chairman Allan Dingle fears that the recent flood will have a massive impact on this year’s cane crop.
CROP DAMAGE: Bundaberg Cane Growers chairman Allan Dingle fears that the recent flood will have a massive impact on this year’s cane crop.

Bundy region farmers hurting after flood

BUNDABERG'S primary producers have taken a heart-breaking walk through their properties as they assess the true extent of damage inflicted by widespread flooding.

It's a sight no farmer wants to see.

Freak winds ripped fruit trees from the ground and flung them far away into neighbouring rows. Swollen rivers and creeks swallowed entire paddocks of cane, starving them of oxygen and leaving them brown and withered.

There will be massive flow-on affects as well - everyone will be touched, the whole community will be impacted in some shape or form.

In some cases, the raging water was so ferocious it stripped away all available top soil in paddocks and left bedrock exposed.

In others, properties resembled mud flats because of a thick layer of silt left behind by the murky floodwaters.

It is a cruel second blow for many primary producers who struggled to fight back after damage caused by the Christmas Day floods of late-2010 and early-2011.

Canegrowers Bundaberg chairman Allan Dingle was one farmer who made the sobering journey when the floodwaters receded.

More than eight metres of water washed over his Moorlands Rd property from the swollen Kolan River, destroying almost half the planted cane.

Mr Dingle said many growers across the region were presented with a similar view, if not worse, when the water subsided.

"It's too early to make an informed judgement as to how bad the damage is," he said.

"But it's safe to say that it's worse than last time."

Macadamias Australia owner Trevor Steinhardt is now cleaning up the aftermath left behind by strong winds that ripped through his property in Childers.

The cyclonic conditions lifted up trees like umbrellas and scattered broken branches across his property.

He estimates about one in 15 of trees on his 1,000 acre property was destroyed by the freak winds.

"This event was really heavy," he said.

"The wind was intense in patches with what seemed like little tornadoes tearing through."

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers executive officer Peter Hockings embarked on a harrowing tour of flood affected properties in the Bundaberg and North Burnett regions.

He said some growers were completing a frank assessment of their business operations to decide whether they will continue farming.

"In some cases growers have managed to salvage a crop and they're in the process of trying to get it to market, in others they have been completely wiped out with major infrastructure damage and farms totally inundated," he said.

Mr Hockings said it was too early to attach a financial figure to damage sustained by the region's farmers.

"We can only guesstimate the cost of replacing infrastructure and rebuilding," he said.

"There will be massive flow-on affects as well - everyone will be touched, the whole community will be impacted in some shape or form."



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