Five generation cane farmer Ashley Petersen with his crop. Photo: Cody Fox
Five generation cane farmer Ashley Petersen with his crop. Photo: Cody Fox

Rainfall making all the difference for Coast’s farmers

The timing of rainfall across the Fraser Coast couldn’t have been more perfect for the region’s farmers.

That is according to Nikenbah cane farmer Ashley Petersen, who said even more would be welcome in the coming weeks.

“It’s absolutely wonderful,” he said of the rain.

“January is the month for us, so it couldn’t be better.”

Mr Petersen said about 30 to 40mm of rain had fallen in consecutive weeks.

He said while there had been no run-off for the dams, there had also been no erosion that could hurt the crops.

The fifth generation farmer said he was hoping for another week of rainfall with similar totals.

He said for those who had been forced to start irrigating in December, it was especially timely.

Mr Petersen said while 2020 had been a good year for his farm, for the area overall it had been average.

About 635,000 tonnes of cane was crushed last year, a similar amount to 2019.

Mr Petersen said the rain had also been good for the hundreds of hectares of soybeans being planted across the Fraser Coast.

“We’re also full steam on the pineapple harvest,” he said.

Cameron Waterson, district manager of Canegrowers Queensland, said the rain had been a big positive for growers.

“We’re all smiling at the moment,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to a little bit more by the look of the weather patterns.”

Mr Waterson said the welcome rain came on the back of two years of continuous dry spells, which saw the reduced cane crops on the Fraser Coast.

He said in the past couple of years, there tended to be one isolated rain event, but not the continuous rain needed to grow the best crop.

Now, with rain falling over the past two weeks, he’s hoping to see more.

“I’m hoping the trend continues, more showers broken up with sun,” he said.

“There are very health looking paddocks out there at the moment.”