Cane paddocks in the Northern Queensland region of Ingham have been riddled by “yellowing cane”, leaving farmers anxious as they try to understand the cause.
First identified on a property within the region in late 2012, the curious disease has now spread to the neighbouring areas of Burdekin and Mulgrave.
The yellowing cane disease is reported to turn cane leaves yellow causing the root stock to die.
KAP Leader and federal member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, recently inspected the affected paddocks stating that the yellowing cane phenomenon could be the last straw for farmers, especially those still recovering from cyclones Yasi and Larry, repeated flooding and cane smut.
“I met with a number of farmers in Ingham early last week and they were incredibly distressed and concerned about their financial standing as they showed me their crops,” he said.
“These farmers have been dealt another blow. Those that have this “yellowing cane” are predicting that they will only be able to harvest half their crops. The other half is useless.”
Katter said that if the mysterious disease is left unsolved, it could result in financial ruin for farmers.
“It’s definitely infectious as you have seen it spread from one farm in November last year to a significant number of farms in the Ingham and neighbouring regions in a six month period”.
Katter said that he will be placing pressure on the government to provide assistance to the affected region through short and long-term aid solutions.
“I will be calling for a National Levy on all agriculture so when an outbreak like this occurs, farmers can expect and receive financial relief.
“These farmers need quick access to federal funding both in terms of dollars and removing bureaucratic road blocks. This will enable scientists to get on with the job of diagnosing the cause and providing a treatment plan.”
Image courtesy of abc.net.au