Felton farmer Bob Free stands among a bumper sunflower crop. His sunflower and sorghum fields have come to life in what he says is one of the best seasons in years.
Felton farmer Bob Free stands among a bumper sunflower crop. His sunflower and sorghum fields have come to life in what he says is one of the best seasons in years. Nev Madsen

It's bloomin' great

DARLING Downs grain growers have plenty to smile about after bouncing back from a tragic summer last year to now being on the cusp of harvesting one of the best crops in years.

AgForce grains president and Dalby sorghum farmer Wayne Newton said a mild summer and well-timed rain was to thank for a near bumper crop.

"Obviously last year was pretty tough on a lot of farmers around the Darling Downs," he said.

"Now we are looking at crops, especially sorghum, which are well above average."

Mr Newton said the global financial situation was one of the only things standing in the way of Darling Downs farmers producing hefty profits.

"Grain prices are a bit soft at the moment and a high Australian dollar is making it hard for farmers to get a decent price for their crops," he said.

"However, we are seeing more countries such as those in South East Asia beginning to look at much higher quality grains and foods which should benefit Darling Downs grain growers.

"As long as the Darling Downs keep producing some of the best grains in the world then we will continue to meet global demand."

As some of the region's farmers prepare for harvest, others also prepare to ramp up their fight against a major threat to their lifestyle.

Yesterday marked what should have been a landmark day for the region's agricultural industry as the State Government announced the introduction of its strategic cropping land legislation.

However, Felton farmer Bob Free said loopholes in the legislation were there to protect the interests of mining companies and would allow them to continue to hold farmers "over the barrel".

"If a farm grows its crops on a slope of more than five per cent, or the farm is less than 50 hectares in size then it will not qualify as strategic cropping land and will not be protected," he said.

"We don't want someone in Brisbane telling us what is suitable cropping land. We know what is suitable."



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