International Perspective: Australian Flooding
In Australian agriculture one of the major concerns each year is the amount of moisture available to grow a crop. For this reason, much of the grain farming is actually done in the winter months when there is available water and cooler temperatures. For the past ten-plus years, Australian farmers have been experiencing a drought, and as a result have produced below average yields in nearly all crops. This year was supposed to be different. I talked with Ed Cay of gps-Ag, the Ag Leader distributor in Australia, about this year’s crop, and he told me about the devastating effects the flood had on crop production. “The 2010 season was shaping up to be one of the best on record for the Eastern states with high yields and high commodity prices, but too much rain at harvest time reduced the total grain harvested and by mid-December had caused approximately 30% of the delivered grain to be downgraded in quality from human consumption, milling grain to stockfeed,” Cay explained.
As many of you may have seen, the rain continued through harvest and into the New Year causing massive flooding in much of Australia. Cay went on to say, “The recent flooding of Queensland has been broadcast around the world because the floodwaters rose so quickly and were so damaging to housing, infrastructure and human life. In actual fact there are many areas of Eastern Australia that have been affected by flooding, including most of the grain producing areas. The Queensland floods have affected a lot of ‘summer cropping’ areas that produce crops such as cotton and sorghum. Some areas have been completely wiped out and will have to wait another 12 months for income.”
Because of the drastic effects on crops, the floods ultimately affected the business of gps-Ag. “The flooding throughout the Eastern seaboard and the late harvest due to heavy rain has meant that January is slower than usual for sales at gps-Ag and many other agriculture companies. But with rain comes opportunity, and producers in winter cropping areas are very optimistic about the season to come which starts in mid to late April.” Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the flooding. Hopefully the water will all be gone soon and life will get back to normal.
Videos of Australian Flooding: Video of the flooding in Queensland, Australia this January: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Do0LvsdXIU&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Some Aussie farmers managed to find some humor in the situation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYb3aQjWp78