PINEAPPLE growers in the Rollingstone district are counting the cost of extensive flooding which has uprooted plants and left fields under water.
Third-generation farmer Stephen Pace, who is also the Australian Pineapple Growers chairman, said about 40,000 plants were completely washed away from his Rollingstone farm.
“We lost probably 30,000 to 40,000 plants that have been completely washed away,” Mr Pace said.
“Having said that it was only 5 per cent of the crop, so it’s not huge but we plant them for a reason – and that’s for them to be eaten.
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“What hasn’t washed away there will be a lot of debris. The pineapple is a pretty resilient plant, so once we scrape that off they should grow again.
“Water logging is a bit of a worry, it’s really just a waiting game.”
Mr Pace said his property had received about 2.5 metres of rain since the monsoon set in on Australia Day.
He said they had fared well until the Rollingstone Creek burst its banks after a deluge on Sunday night and swamped the paddock.
“It was only moderate flooding until then, but then it just went to the next level after the water went over the bank, where we’ve got a fair percentage, about 25 per cent, planted on the creek flat.”
Mr Pace said it would probably take three to four weeks to know whether there is issues with the remaining crop.
“If it stops and dries out quickly, it should be okay, but its a bit of uncharted territory.”
He said they would start harvesting small volumes in March before the season slowly picks up.
“One bonus is that we finished our main crop in early January, so we’re not really harvesting fruit at the moment.”
Mr Pace produces about 4500 tonnes of the fruit on his 8000 hectare farms on average each year.
- This story first appeared on the North Qld Register.