Courageous banana farmer Bonita Doyle and Clinton Colgan prepare for the salvage sale after storms shredded the Nikenbah plantation.
Courageous banana farmer Bonita Doyle and Clinton Colgan prepare for the salvage sale after storms shredded the Nikenbah plantation. Alistair Brightman

Growers prepare for salvage sale

THE famed Queensland fighting spirit is to the fore in Nikenbah as Shane and Bonita Doyle try to resurrect their dream of becoming the region's first commercial banana growers from among the stumps of their storm-ravaged plantation.

Winds that last weekend scythed down more than 3000 of their mature banana trees were measured gusting at more than 100kmh by the farm's electronic weather station.

The winds drove a storm pocket only 200m wide that tore this season's hopes to shreds.

Floods killed off an earlier crop of bananas and, a few months ago, the Doyles had to live through a hendra scare on their property before rigorous testing gave scrutinised animals the all-clear.

"I had a few tears when I saw all our trees down.

"It looked like Cyclone Yasi just gone through," Mrs Doyle said.

"We are going to come back bigger and better.

"And we have started putting some strategic things in place to guard against this in the future.

"We are here for the long haul. The big market owners drive around in a Mercedes-Benz.

"But we are happy with our Daihatsus."

Phase one of the mop-up began immediately after the storm.

The Doyles collected the fallen fruit, washed it and put it into cold storage - all six tonnes of it.

Phase two runs across tomorrow and Sunday when the Doyles throw open the gates of their farm to all-comers in an attempt to shift the fruit at $3.50kg.

This is less than half the price the bananas are retailing for in some outlets.

In July, when the Doyles released their first crop of bananas to a public buffeted by high fruit prices, they sold 500kg of bananas in an hour.