CQ crops damage hits $900m

ESTIMATES of flood damage to crops and infrastructure in Central Queensland reached $900 million today.

The state government has predicted costs to roads, bridges, fences and other infrastructure at $600 million, while the latest figures to emerge today from agricultural group AgForce put crop and property damage at a further $300 million.

AgForce president Brent Finlay and vice president Ian Burnett joined Federal Agricultural Minister Joe Ludwig, Queensland Primary Industries Minister Tim Mulherin and Queensland Farmers Federation president Gary Sansom in CQ this week.

The group completed aerial surveillance of the Central Highlands, met with producers near Comet and Emerald and were in Moura for more meetings today.

Mr Finlay said the past two months had been “extremely challenging” for the food and fibre producers, with direct crop losses of $130 million plus a further loss of about $200 million in quality downgrades.

He said: “Farmers are reeling from an accumulative impact.

“This season was shaping up to be a bumper year with huge areas of wheat and chickpeas planted, so farmers invested heavily in preparing paddocks, planting and managing crops.

“Then, early heavy rains – combined with a shortage of fungicides to manage chickpeas – resulted in significant downgrading of crop quality.

“To top it all off, widespread and heavy rain on already saturated soil has prevented many farmers from harvesting, plus some areas of crop completely have been completely destroyed by flooding.

“The next step is to gather as much information as possible from farmers, including dollar figures for crop and infrastructure losses, and we urge all impacted landowners to feed this information into their industry organisations, AgForce and QFF.”

For more on the crops disaster, see Friday's Rural Weekly, free inside The Morning Bulletin.

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