RAINFALL: The amount of rain potentially on the way to the region, caused by Tropical Cyclone Oma, could be exactly what struggling farmers need.
RAINFALL: The amount of rain potentially on the way to the region, caused by Tropical Cyclone Oma, could be exactly what struggling farmers need. Mike Knott BUN310315CANE5

TC Oma could bring the rain our farmers so desperately need

AS THE region braces for Tropical Cyclone Oma, the hope of large amounts of rain to come with the weather event could be the saving grace local sugar cane growers need.

Yesterday, the Bureau of Meteorology had forecast at least 185mm of rainfall for Bundaberg over the next week and Weatherzone had predicted at least 200mm.

BoM meteorologist Adam Blazak had told the NewsMail yesterday up to 300mm of rainfall within a day could be on the way for many impacted areas, including Bundaberg, but today that number has decreased to 100mm as the direction of Oma becomes clearer.

Before the decline in rainfall predictions, the NewsMail spoke to Bundaberg Sugar Services special project officer Maurie Haines, who said farmers would welcome the rain, despite the knowledge a downpour of that magnitude would be damaging to crops.

"Three-hundred millimetres in a day will cause some flooding and it'll probably cause some field damage," he said.

"But the upside is it'll also fill up dams, rivers, underground aquifers and fill up the soil profile," Mr Haines said.

"And all of those things are almost at the bottom of where they can be."

He said such dry conditions have caused crops to fall behind.

"The growers are so desperate for rain, they're not going to say go away."

"They're going to take what they can get - they would like not a lot of wind and they would rather it not be too heavy - but they're so desperate for rain, the industry is so desperate for rain, that we're happy to take our chances with whatever we can get."

Mr Blazak said it was still too early to be sure what the cyclone's actions would look like, but it was predicted to cross the coast between the weekend and early next week.

Mr Haines said "if it doesn't come, there's going to be some devastated people" as he was sure even just 100mm of rain would be "like Christmas" to cattle farmers inland.

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