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Sugarcane, other agriculture suffers in Australian flooding

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Agriculture industries in Northeast Australia are suffering from severe flooding as the rainy season begins.
Agriculture industries in Northeast Australia are suffering from severe flooding as the rainy season begins.

More heavy rains are forecast for Northeast Australia's immediately future and the rainy season will endure another three months leaving the flood-ravaged region's agriculture industries hobbled and nearly helpless, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Nearly one-fifth of the sugarcane crop was lost and farmers are unable to grow the commodity in time for next season's harvest. The top executive official of Canegrowers, the industry's trade association, predicted this year's crop is likely to plunge to record lows.

''The thing we are all very fearful of is that we've only just started our wet season," Brent Finlay, president of the rural lobby group AgForce, told the publication. "We've got three months of cyclone season to go.''

More than 80 percent of the area was damaged by floodwaters, according to the mayor of Emerald, which is west of the coastal city of Rockhampton. He said tens of millions of dollars are lost, but he did not cite how much money will be needed for repairs when the waters clear and the rain stops.

'We're trying to encourage people to get whatever they can done in anticipation of another hit and the forecast up here isn't great,'' Finlay said.

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