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Ross Henry - QFF project manager

Queensland floods are a mixed blessing

The Queensland Farmers' Federation says it is too early to tell exactly what impact this week's heavy rain in the north and west of the state on horticultural production. Rainfalls were recorded of up to 500mm in some areas, which includes some of Queensland's major fruit and vegetable crops.

"Yes, there will be an impact," QFF project manager, Ross Henry said. "Flood water across paddocks will cause lots of damage; cane will be pushed over (lodged) horticulture crops could be lost. But it's too early to say what will be impacted. Anything is a risk to anything in the ground, but floodwater effects fallow country more than planted country."

There are also flow on effects with road and transport routes expected to be cut, if they are not already, which will impact getting fresh produce out to market. However, Mr Henry says it could be a case of short term pain for long term gain, with the rainfall occurring where it is needed most.

"The last week has been mixed fortunes for farmers across the state, there is flooding in the north and north-west, but generally, after 6-years of drought, much of the rain will be welcome," he said. "Weekly totals of 400mm plus and even a couple of 500mm plus have been recorded, that's a lot of water. The river systems and flood warning are out across the state, but on the plus side dams and aquifers will be filling up."

He adds that some impact reports in the west of the state are telling a positive story about "good rain". While there is currently significant flood, Mr Henry says the nature of the country out there means its manageable and the benefits outweigh the negatives. But in other areas the QFF warn that river levels are still predicted to rise even further over the coming days.

"Central and northern QLD coast will be the area to watch for our members," Mr Henry said. "A lot of rain has fallen along the coast and in the upper catchments, so as this makes its way downstream we will have to watch creek and river levels to anticipate flood risk - the Herbert River in particular."

The industry body is also reminding farmers to put their own safety first and not take any risks trying to save assets.

"Flood waters are dangerous," Mr Henry said. "Make your plans and prepare ahead of time if possible. Record damage to feed into government impact assessments. If it's flooded, forget it."

Ross Henry
Queensland Farmers' Federation
Phone: +61 7 38374720


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