Cyclone Debbie Agricultural Impact – 6 April 2017

It’s been over a week since TC Debbie started impacting the Queensland coast and we are still feeling her effects throughout the state. Flooding in Rockhampton is yet to reach its forecast peak of 9.0m on Thursday morning so the damage bill from the even is likely still to climb.

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:


North Queensland Report:

QFF is working with industry members to formulate this information;

Growcom report;

  • All vegetables in the ground in the Bowen and Whitsunday region have been lost. Over $100 million worth of produce has been written off.
  • Damage to soil in fallow country has been significant.
  • Impact assessments of the Bowen region have come back with a catastrophic rating.
  • 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 such as mangos, Paw Paw, Custard Apples & Lychees will take a long time to recover. With Mangos for example taking 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.


  • Initial estimates are putting the value of the Queensland sugarcane crop lost to Tropical Cyclone Debbie at $150 million.
  • Surveys have indicated cane losses of up to 35% in the Proserpine region ($50 million), 20% across the Mackay region ($81 million) and 20% in Plane Creek ($18 million).
  • A more scientific assessment is underway. There has also been some damage to cane from flooding in southern growing districts, particularly along the Albert River.

Nursery Garden Industry of Queensland (NGIQ) report;

  • Fifteen production nursery in Bowen has been effected to some degree, one suffering a 98% wipe out, with stock loss, irrigation, trees, vehicles and critical infrastructure damage.
  • Damage to on-farm infrastructure has been extensive.


Central Queensland:

  • Rockhampton has started to be inundated with slow moving flood waters, the flood will peak of 9.0 meters today (06/04/2017).
  • The slow-moving flood will effect a number of industries with Growcom and NGIQ watching the region closely.
  • Cotton is likely to have some damage through Central Queensland as well. With Cotton Australia ensuring that damage is reported through to the Government, although with the sparsity of the damage in these western regions they are investigating Individual Disaster Declarations for effected farms.


South East Queensland:

  • Flooding through the South-East Queensland has been devastation for many producers.
  • Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO) is reporting close to 50 dairy farms have been impacted South East QLD.
  • Widespread damage has been reported by NGIQ. Eight reported to have severe flooding through Logan and the Gold coast with some reporting 80% plus stock loss and severely damaged on farm infrastructure.
  • Growcom have surveyed 12 farmers to date in SEQ. Several vegetable growers are reporting widespread flood damage, soil erosion, loss of irrigation equipment, some infrastructure damage and crop losses.


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 in the following local government areas:
  • Central highlands
  • Gladstone
  • Gold Coast
  • Isaac
  • Lockyer Valley
  • Logan
  • Mackay
  • Scenic Rim
  • Whitsunday

Producers in these local government areas are eligible for the following:

  • 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, or 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