THEY delighted tourists in the Hinchinbrook with their cheery blooms, but floodwaters got the better of cane grower Michael Waring’s sunflower crop, with the entire field submerged.
But Mr Waring is pragmatic about the situation, saying the sunflowers probably only had about a week of life left before they were destroyed.
“The sunflowers were killed outright. We also had soya beans in there and they had about a month to go so they got killed a bit earlier,” Mr Waring said.
“They were the two species in there to try to improve soil health, the sunflowers had already flowered and were ready to go off, so they had done their thing.”
Mr Waring said the cover the fallow crops had provided during the flood had probably protected the soil and slowed down the flow of water into the cane.
“I don't think it will strip away all the benefit, we will probably lose some due to the fact that soil was waterlogged and under a couple of metres of water… but if didn't have a cover crop be a lot worse off than we are now.”
Mr Waring said about 25 per cent of his property had been impacted by the flood.
“It’s not looking too bad, some of it is looking now like the hearts might die which means we won’t get much cane out of that, but the majority is going to be fine,” he said.
Mr Waring said his property fared far better than the 2009 flood when this cane was underwater for nine days.
”In 2009 it killed nearly all that cane down there so we had to take it all out start again, this time it was under water for about two and a half,” he said.
“Only about 25 per cent of our farm is in this situation and it is really good soil because we’re on the river flats, but that’s the price we pay, every now and then we have a flood over the top of it.”
Mr Waring said he would plant alternative fallow crops to replace the sunflowers once the soil drys out, with a mix of millet, saya oat and cowpea.
“It’s about working with nature, with the cover cropping we get different plants in the system to break the mono culture and try to improve our farming.”