Drought takes its toll on cane harvest

Drought takes its toll on 2019 sugar

Agribusiness
Ongoing drought has put a big dent in Queensland's 2019 cane harvest.

Ongoing drought has put a big dent in Queensland's 2019 cane harvest.

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Ongoing drought has put a big dent in Queensland's 2019 cane harvest.

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THE ongoing drought has put a big dent in Queensland's 2019 cane harvest, and the state's economy is set to feel the impact.

Canegrowers chief executive officer Dan Galligan said the some regions had received less than half of their average annual rainfall following a very dry 2018.

"The regions around Bundaberg, Childers and Maryborough are particularly parched and the harvest is heading towards a very early October finish because of the smaller crop," Mr Galligan said.

"In the far north, places like Tully and Babinda are around 30 per cent down on average and while the figures in other northern regions look close to average, a lot of their rain fell in the flooding monsoon trough in February and there has been little since."

The 2019 cane harvest is expected to be 29.49 million tonnes, down 1mt from 2018 and 2mt less than 2017.

"At current prices, the drop in production alone means that across the industry growers will earn $36m less than they did last year," Mr Galligan said.

"That loss of income will be felt by growers and impact right through cane growing communities."

A report commissioned by Canegrowers has shows the value of the sector to the Queensland economy.

"For the first time this report gives us a clear picture of the scale and extent of the sugarcane industry supply chain and how it really does underpin the well-being of many regions up and down the coast," Mr Galligan said.

"For every $1 of economic activity in sugarcane growing, an additional $6.40 in economic activity is generated elsewhere in the economy.

"In the Ingham and Ayr regions the sugar industry value chain supports nearly one-in-three jobs including employment in sugar mills, transport operators, agricultural contractors, business services and suppliers of fuel, fertiliser, machinery and other products and services."

The economic contribution of the Sugarcane Industry to Queensland and its regional communities report says the industry:

- Generates almost $1.1 billion in economic activity a year.

- Provides more than 9800 direct jobs and $379m in wages and incomes.

- Underpins a value chain worth about $4b.

- Enables more than 23,650 value chain jobs providing $1.36b in wages and income.

- Contributes to around $1.1b in tax revenue.

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