Region's farmers feel the heat of the dry season
IN MARK Pressler's 30 years of farming, he hasn't experienced a season as dry as this one.
Mr Pressler said since Christmas, his cane farm has received about 60mm of rain which meant it was hard going with irrigation.
Bundaberg has just been through its driest summer in 60 years, with just 126.4mm of rainfall.
A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Meteorology said the previous lowest was 138.9mm in 1981, which is well short of the seasonal average of 451.3mm.
Mr Pressler said the lack of rainfall would have a detrimental effect on his crop heading into the crush season - which is just weeks away.
"I think we're probably down 15 per cent of our irrigated area,” he said.
"It's cost us an exorbitant amount of money for power and water, but it's what we do in the hope the price (for cane) might come up.
"We'll be below the cost of production this year and if things don't change, next year too. "But it's what we live and hope for, for the price to come up.”
Mr Pressler said they've been constantly irrigating to keep their crop alive.
As a board member of Bundaberg Canegrowers, he's had the chance to talk to some of the other growers in the region about how they were faring in the dry season.
"Many people have just turned their pumps off because they've said 'I can't afford it',” he said.
"If you haven't got any money you can't afford to do it, if you didn't have a good crop last year for whatever reason, then people do the bare minimum.
"That has a direct relation to crop size as Canegrowers we've been actively engaged with the Queensland Government over electricity pricing.”
He said going forward into crushing season, the region needed at least 50mm of rain to get back to a comfortable stage.
"If we got another 50mm after that as well it'd be good,” he said.
"Some places have had some fair rain but others haven't received any.”
Burnett Mary Regional Group communications and engagement officer Ben Galea said farmers relied on rainfall.
"Fortunately we have received some showers in March and April,” he said.