Food Innovation Online Corp

You are here

Tasmanian Floods may have destroyed 20% of the potato crop

 Floodwater cuts this Tasmanian potato field in half (Courtesy ABC Rural)
January 18, 2011

The damage bill from flooding on Tasmanian farms is expected to run into millions of dollars.

The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association says a quarter of the vegetable crop is likey to be lost in the state's north-west and north-east.

The association says 20 per cent of the potato crop is also expected to be wiped out with baled hay and poppy crops hit hard.

Some farms in the north-west recorded up to 300 millimetres of rain.

The association's Jan Davis says the floods will have a huge impact on the rural sector.

"It's early days yet, but we're talking many, many, millions of dollars in damage,"she said.

Farmers will not know the full extent of the damage until harvesting begins later in the year.

The Vegetable Council's Andrew Craigie told ABC Radio's Country Hour the damage is widespread.

"The north-east, especially their potato crops, and right out the north-east and up and down the east coast there's been significant damage and huge losses down that way, probably the further you come along the end of the north-west coast,"he said.

"The impact is very disheartening for any farmer to come out and have a look at their farms at the moment."

In a double blow, farmers who lost vegetable crops will miss out on high prices driven by the Queensland floods.

The Queensland floods have led to shortages and high prices for several vegetable crops.

Tasmanian farmers were hoping to fill the void, but with damage of their own, farmer Richard Bovill says the Tasmanian losses will now be even higher.

"Any crop that's lost now is being lost in a very high priced environment,"he said.

Note by PotatoPro:

The Queensland Floods affected the supply of many vegetables, but apart from potatoes for chips - Frito-Lay / Smiths Snack Foods operates a potato chip factory in Brisbane - and some early potatoes, the potato supply is relatively unaffected given the scale of the Queensland floods.

On the other hand, the much smaller Tasmanian floods likely cut directly in the potato supply of both the McCain Foods french fry factory(Smithton) and the Simplot Australia french fry factory, both in the North of Tasmania.

Companies in this Article
McCain Foods Limited is an international leader in the frozen food industry and the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato specialities, employing approximately 18,000 people and operating 50 production facilities on six continents.
Frito-Lay North America (FLNA) includes Pepsico's snack operations in the United States and Canada where the company dominates the market with a range of savory snacks brands including Lay's, Ruffles, Doritos, Tostitos, Fritos, Cheetos and Sunchips
Simplot is one of the three larger french fry manufacturers in the United States.