Weak tea: Madura Estate employee Nathan McMullen says tea does not like sitting in water.
Weak tea: Madura Estate employee Nathan McMullen says tea does not like sitting in water. John Gass

Rain devastates Tweed tea growers

CONSISTENT rain has caused devastation for cane farmers throughout the Tweed Shire, and also for tea growers.

Water forming on the ground of the tea crops has left Madura Tea Estates employees in Murwillumbah unable to harvest crops and perform maintenance

“Tea doesn't like sitting in water,” Madura employee Nathan McMullen said.

“There are only so many jobs you can do in the shed. We can't even get out and perform maintenance.”

Mr McMullen said the company will have to produce a lot of green tea this harvest. “We sell a lot of green tea and black tea,” Mr McMullen said.

“Because of the rain we have been unable to harvest. The tea leaves are now six to seven inches, which is not good for making black tea but can be used for green tea.”

In the silver lining of it all, Mr McMullen said this is not the worst wet season he has seen.

“A couple of years ago we planted out and got a whole heap of rain and it rotted the roots and killed the crop off,” he said.

“And once the paddocks are flooded we then need to clean away the debris.

“But it does look like it could flood again, and we will lose a fair amount of tea if that happens.”

Mr McMullen said the wet season will not have an effect on tea prices.

“There is a lot of Australian tea on the market and imported from China.

“Unless something devastating happens over there, I can't see an increase of tea prices.”

Madura Estate employees are now just hanging out for drier weather to harvest tea crops.



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