Josie Mizzi examines rows of rain-affected sweet potatoes that can’t be harvested at their farm in Moore Park.
Josie Mizzi examines rows of rain-affected sweet potatoes that can’t be harvested at their farm in Moore Park. Rob Barich

Rain just rotten luck

SWEET potato growers Gino and Josie Mizzi were trying to remain philosophical yesterday about the 1000 boxes of produce they have had to throw away because of the wet weather.

“There’s not much you can do – it’s part of life,” Mr Mizzi said.

“You can just keep going.”

Mr Mizzi said his property off Moore Park Road received 125mm of rain last Sunday, and he had been unable to harvest any sweet potatoes since then. More than half his crop is still in the ground, and he has to watch it rot because there is no point in trying to harvest it now.

Mr Mizzi said the area had experienced one of the wettest seasons in 25 years.

He warned the price of small crops for consumers would go up because of the scarcity the rain would cause.

He had hoped to receive $15 to $20 a box for his sweet potatoes, and even more if there was a shortfall in the market.

“I had planned to do more planting, but the fields are like soup,” Mr Mizzi said.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers chairman David De Paoli said this was the time of year when tomato, zucchini, capsicum and eggplant growers should be planting for winter crops.

“What this has done is put back the planting,” he said.

“Yields will be affected.”

Mr De Paoli said both the quality and the volume of the produce would be affected.

“We welcome the rain, but not when it lingers on,” he said. “We seem to get big bursts, then nothing for months and months.”

He said the rain was needed to fill up the catchments.

Mr De Paoli said a lot of growers would have started planting about Christmas, but when plant roots got too wet for too long they were prone to disease.

“And there’s more rain on the way, that’s what worries us,” he said.

Tomato producer Ayhan Basacar, of Basacar Produce, said the rain was making life very difficult.

“We can go in and plant regardless, we can plant by hand if we need to,” he said.

“But the rain is stunting young plants, and we can’t get in to spray for pests.”

The wet weather also meant the plants could not be fertilised.

“But look on the bright side, two years ago we were struggling to get water,” he said. “There’s nothing we can do about it, we can just do our best.”K

Keep up-to-date with the latest weather for Bundaberg.



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