Rosie Produce Supervisor Tim Blackley, with Owner Dean Akers and son Tommy. Dean has been frustrated with the unusually wet weather.
Rosie Produce Supervisor Tim Blackley, with Owner Dean Akers and son Tommy. Dean has been frustrated with the unusually wet weather. Scottie Simmonds

Rain affects region's crops

WHILE some people might be welcoming the wet weather, it is starting to seriously affect food production in the region.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers chairman David DiPaoli said the weather was affecting the crops that were about to be harvested.

“It is knocking the yield around because we’re getting no sunlight, and sunlight makes food,” he said.

“Obviously when we go out and try to do our scheduled work, it is too wet to get on the ground.”

Mr DiPaoli said at the end of the day farmers learnt to take the good with the bad.

But the rain over the past weeks had affected yields, quality and the return on crops.

Mr DiPaoli said vegetable growers were anxiously watching the sky because they were about to start picking their crops.

“This is coming in to our prime time,” he said.

He said major crops such as zucchinis, capsicums and tomatoes were all due to be picked between now and the beginning of December.

Picking of mangoes and lychees started around Christmas time.

Sweet potato grower Dean Akers yesterday had pickers out trying to get in some of his crop to meet contracts he has with buyers.

“We’re going hard today to try to make sure we can fill our Woolworths orders next week,” he said.

Mr Akers said the wet weather made it difficult to work the ground because they had to stop constantly to clean the equipment.

“When we planted this crop at the beginning of the year it was in the rain,” he said.

“Now we’re coming to pick it we’re picking in the rain.”

He said he knew the rain was coming and had tried to be prepared for it.

Mr Akers said the market for his crop had stayed strong because many producers were having trouble picking their crop.

“Supply is short so that keeps prices up,” he said.

Mr Akers said he grew more than 182ha of sweet potatoes a year, making his operation the biggest in Australia.

Unfortunately for the growers, the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting more wet weather on the way.

The bureau is forecasting more rain today, clearing later in the day, with tomorrow expected to be fine.



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