La Nina forecast, border closures spark harvester shortage fears in Qld

La Nina forecast, border closures spark harvester shortage fears in Qld

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AgForce grains president Brendon Taylor said AgForce was working hard to resolve the permit issue.

AgForce grains president Brendon Taylor said AgForce was working hard to resolve the permit issue.

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Firming forecasts of a wet spring are compounding fears of a header shortage across southern Queensland.

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Firming forecasts of a wet spring are compounding farmers' fears of a header shortage across southern Queensland.

With border closures making it difficult for southern contract harvesters to make their way north, and talk some may not bother thanks to a bumper NSW crop, concerns about a shortage of headers and workers in Queensland and the ability of farmers to get their crops off are growing.

AgForce grains president Brendon Taylor said the farm lobby group was "working extremely hard" to ensure machinery and harvest workers could freely cross the NSW and Queensland border but no resolution had yet been reached.

"There are certainly plenty of discussions happening within the right places and I do believe the (Queensland) government is genuinely listening but harvest is rapidly approaching," he said.

"They (farmers) are saying it is six weeks away so we need to get a plan in place that is going to work and get it in place quickly."

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Talk of a potential shortage of harvesters is making many growers nervous, particularly as some will be looking to pull off their first decent crop in years.

Mr Taylor said reports that some growers were buying their own harvesters to avoid relying on contractors didn't surprise him.

"I haven't heard that but it certainly wouldn't surprise me," he said.

"A lot of these regions haven't grown anything since 2016 so if you look at it in dollar terms this crop is worth an incredible amount to them," he said.

"Getting if off in a timely manner is very important.

"The weather bureau is still very keen on a La Nina developing in the spring and if you throw wet weather into the mix that could certainly bring contractors looking to work either side of the border undone."

Mr Taylor said if wet conditions did eventuate around harvest time, hard border closures would make it extremely difficult for contractors to move around and make best use of their machinery.

He said Queensland contractors wanting to go into NSW had been told they would need to quarantine for two weeks if they wanted to return to Queensland.

"They can go to NSW no trouble at all but if it rains and they can't work for a bit they won't be able to come back without quarantining which is very problematic," he said.

The story La Nina forecast, border closures spark harvester shortage fears in Qld first appeared on Farm Online.

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