Primary producers are being urged to give priority to the safety of themselves and their families as Far North Queensland prepares for the arrival of Cyclone Yasi on Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries, Rural and Regional Queensland Tim Mulherin said the scale of Yasi is so great that no matter where the eye crosses the coast there will be a high chance production areas from Cooktown to Mackay will experience losses.

“The number one priority at the present time as people prepare for Cyclone Yasi is human safety,” Mr Mulherin said.

“However, there are some simple steps primary producers can take that may help reduce the impacts of Cyclone Yasi on their property and produce.

“Primary producers are being urged to remove debris from their properties, lock up their machinery and secure their farm infrastructure as best they can.

“Dairyfarmers and aquaculturists are being urged to ensure they have sufficient generator capacity and fuel supplies to be able to function without power for a number of days.

“Where possible producers should move livestock to higher ground and ensure pets have adequate shelter.

“Ensuring you mobile phone is charged is also useful.

“Far north Queensland banana producers are harvesting their fruit now and storing the produce in their sheds.

“This will help save some of the present crop and make the banana plants less susceptible to heavy winds.

“However, banana trees are at risk even in category 1 and 2 cyclone events,” he said.

Mr Mulherin said tropical fruit growers have to make some tough decisions today about whether or not to prune their trees as far back as possible and drop fruit.

“Trees carrying heavier loads provide a bigger sail and are more susceptible to heavy winds,” he said.

“This is a tough decision because it means losses for producers whether or not the cyclone actually impacts on them.

“Fruit growers are removing nets to protect these expensive items from damage.

“Banana and tropical fruit growers should wait until after the cyclone to assess damage to their crops and properties.”

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