Canegrowers in far north Queensland are predicting millions of dollars in damage after cyclonic winds and floods ruin crops.
Far north Queensland cane fields are as flat as pancakes and waterlogged thanks to Cyclone Ita.
Ita’s destructive winds steamrolled hundreds of hectares of cane in the Ingham area, north of Townsville, at the weekend.
Then field upon field of the sweet crop has gone underwater as the Herbert River reached major flood levels on Sunday, cutting Ingham off to the north and south of the Bruce Highway.
Third-generation Ingham cane farmer Steve Guazzo sadly watched the storm destroy almost 10 per cent of his 250 hectare farm.
Mr Guazzo, vice-president of Canegrowers Australia, says the Herbert cane-growing region is facing millions of dollars in damages and production losses.
“We are only two months out from harvest,” he said.
“On my farm, there are fields that are completely under water. This is one of the worst floods we’ve had in several years.”
About 90 per cent of the region’s income is linked to sugar cane.
“Any losses we have in the sugar industry in the Herbert has a flow on effect throughout the community,” Mr Guazzo said.
Cane farmers in the Tablelands, the Burdekin, Tully, Cairns and Mackay are also reporting major damage, with many describing fields as being as “flat as a pancake”.
Mackay grower Kevin Borg said severe waterlogging would affect harvesting.
“Harvesting difficulties will increase costs with the additional time it will require to take the crop from the field,” he said.