HEARTBREAKING doesn't come close to describing the devastating scenes in the Lockyer Valley after floodwaters gouged the district over four days from last Thursday to Sunday.
Lockyer Valley Growers president Michael Sippel said the district received smaller rainfalls over Tuesday and Wednesday, but nothing prepared them for the overhead dome which dropped 525 to 550 millimetres or 21 inches in the days after.
"It really was a slow burn over the four days and cannot be compared to the 2011 or 2013 floods," Mr Sippel said.
"They were torrential floods that were fast and furious, while this event slowly played out causing real heartache."
Mr Sippel said morale in the district was very low, and the short term goal was to get people back to normal and kids to school.
He said growers in the Lockyer Valley already endured a tough winter last year due COVID labour shortages with crops left in the ground to rot.
"Now we have crops left in the ground rotting that have been washed away like this pumpkin paddock, which was due to be picked this week," he said.
Mr Sippel said growers were really pinning their hopes on the current crop of vegetables about to be picked along with sorghum and mung bean crops, which were now flattened.
"We received rain in late November giving farmers a reason for a late planting and taking advantage of the sub-soil moisture," he said.
"Those that did not plant had already applied fertiliser at a great cost and made rows for a winter planting of leafy vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, onions and carrots.
"Apart from the loss of crops and machinery the really big issue here is the loss of top soil with reports that some farmers have lost almost one metre of soil.
"The soil is irreplaceable and if farmers need to hire earthmoving equipment to re-shape their farm we are really talking big money."
Forest Hill vegetable grower and cotton farmer Mitchell Brimblecombe, Moira Farm, said it was his cotton crop that saved his top soil.
"Despite the damage it is good to see water in the creeks and dams, which are the positives after getting through all the negatives," he said.
Agribusiness development officer with the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Clinton McGraw, was crunching the numbers and expected to put a figure on the losses by the end of the week.
"I can't even attempt to put a value on the damage at the moment," Mr McGraw said.
"This event certainly hit at the wrong time in terms of lack of cash flow."
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