Cyclone Debbie Agricultural Impact – 3 April 2017

Nearly a week after TC Debbie started impacting the Queensland coast we are still feeling her effects throughout the state. Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) is working closely with the government to assist in the coordination of industries’ impact assessments and recovery arrangements in response to Cyclone Debbie.

QFF has put together a summary of the directly affected industries as well as a breakdown of available support:


Horticulture Report:

QFF is working with industry member Growcom to formulate this information:

  • All vegetables in the ground in the Bowen andWhitsunday region have been lost. Over $100 million worth of produce has been written off.
  • The silver lining is only 20% of the total crop for the region had been planted when the system moved through.
  • Fallow country that hadn’t been planted will need to be recovered, as associated flooding has impacted soil conditions and health throughout the region.
  • Mango growers in the Bowen region have also been affected with the full extent still being determined by Growcom. The total impact is expected to be significant.
  • Tree crops, like mangos, will take three to five years to recover and reach full production maturity.
  • The effects of TC Debbie will be felt for a few years to come with extensive infrastructure damage reported by growers in the region. The total cost has yet to be assessed.
  • As the flooding impacts become clear across central QLD and SEQ more horticultural industries could be impacted by this event.


Sugarcane Report:

QFF is working with industry member CANEGROWERS to formulate this information:

  • Sugarcane is vital to the region, and the damage has been widespread.
  • CANEGROWERS is reporting that there has been 100% damage to sugar cane crop in Proserpine, while Mackay and Plane Creek suffered 90% damage.
  • It is yet to be assessed how much crop can be salvaged. CANEGROWERS are expecting financial impacts on the farmers to be significant with the quality of what is harvested expected to be low.
  • Damage to sugar cane does not necessarily equate to loss.
  • Rocky Point cane region has been impacted by the floods and CANEGROWERS will be updating the damage on that region in the coming days.


Nursery & Garden report:

QFF is working with industry member Nursery & Garden Industry Queensland (NGIQ) to formulate this information:

  • One production nursery in Bowen has been severely effected, suffering a 100% stock loss and critical infrastructure damage.
  • Incoming reports are detailing extensive damage caused by significant flooding in the regions of Mackay, Whitsunday and South East Queensland.
  • There are a number of nurseries that are also expected to be affected by the impending flooding event in Rockhampton.


South East Queensland:

  • The Scenic Rim, Beaudesert, Gold Coast and surrounding regions have experienced flooding.
  • Dairy farms through the region are likely to be effected by this event, with initial reports indicating flood damage on a few farms through the region.
  • Widespread damage has been reported. As the effects of Cyclone Debbie are still being felt we are expecting further damage reports to come in.


Central Queensland:

  • Rockhampton is battening down, ready for a flood peak of 9.4 meters this Wednesday (5/4/17).
  • The slow-moving flood for these central QLD regions means that farmers and producers will be feeling the effects of Debbie over the coming days and weeks.
  • This ongoing situation in Central Queensland will ensure the damage bill for agriculture producers in Queensland will continue to climb.


Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA):

  • The recovery efforts have started in Central Queensland with Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) Category B assistance announced through the Whitsunday and Mackay council regions.
  • Freight Subsidies – Category B assistance for primary producers enables producers to access freight subsidies of up to $5,000. These freight subsidies are available through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF).
  • Natural Disaster assistance loans – NDRRA Category B activation for primary producers also triggers eligibility to apply for Natural Disaster assistance loans of up to $250,000 available through QRAA, as well as the Natural Disaster Assistance Essential Working Capital loan of up to $100,000.


QFF will continue to provide updates through the purpose-built natural disaster support website