IRRIGATING: It has been a dry month for Bundaberg cane farmers like Dean Cayley, who recently implemented lateral irrigation which he says will be more efficient than winch irrigation in the long run.
IRRIGATING: It has been a dry month for Bundaberg cane farmers like Dean Cayley, who recently implemented lateral irrigation which he says will be more efficient than winch irrigation in the long run. Eliza Goetze

Bloody hot, extremely dry start to 2017 - and won't let up yet

BUNDABERG has just experienced just 32% of its average rainfall for January - of a typical 175mm we received just 56.4mm.

Temperatures across the month were 1.4 degrees above average.

A dry run is always tough for cane farmers, who are "struggling to keep up” with irrigation, Bundaberg District Canegrowers chairman Allan Dingle wrote in this week's newsletter.

After a Boxing Day shower of around 100mm, "we all had a reprieve from irrigating for a week, got another 15 or so mm and that's the rain report this year.”

The conditions, in Mr Dingle's words: "bloody hot and extremely dry”.

"Up until last week the crop was looking in excellent condition with good growth. Continuing hot dry conditions are now starting to cause severe moisture stress in many areas.

"Even well watered cane shows signs of stress in the middle of the day.”

He believed there was still potential to get a two million tonne crop.

"The crop is more advanced than last year in many areas but the weather gods need to start helping

"Today would be a good time for them to start.”

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Andrew Busalino said there would be little relief in the coming week.

Bundaberg will be "lucky to get a couple of millimetres” over the weekend.



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