Rutherglen Bugs have taken over Crystal Organics.
Rutherglen Bugs have taken over Crystal Organics. Contributed

'Devastating' bug plague invades organic farm

SUNSHINE Coast farmers have been crushed after the bug plague devastated their crops.

Crystal Organics owner Crystal Maymann said she had lost about 99% of crops and had to "shut the farm gate" and temporarily close down because they'd been overrun by bugs.

"About a week ago, along with the butterfly plague we had, which were beautiful and just migrated through the Coast, obviously the conditions for their mass breeding also applied to the rutherglen bug," she said.

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"But rather than just migrating through they've taken up home on the coast and have been devastating crops and farms."

Ms Maymann said because they were an organic farm they couldn't apply chemicals to save their livelihood.

"We've got our hands tied. We've tried different methods, even literally trying to soak them out but because it's an epidemic sized plague they come straight back and nothing appears to be working," she said.

"We've had to cease supply to everyone and this is our full-time job so it's devastating and we're not alone, our organic colleagues are in similar predicaments."

It was now a waiting game for the farmers until they could get their crops back.

"We just don't know when the end will be. They keep multiplying and breeding in the soil so we're just having to be patient," Ms Maymann said.

"Hopefully some decent long-term rain activity will flush them out but a couple of older growers in the industry said they've never seen anything in this plague-like proportion so we're all scratching our heads."

Ms Maymann said they were hoping the community would get behind some of their other products to help them through this tough time.

"Our eggs are delicious, they aren't certified organic but they are certainly organic. Our beautiful tumeric hasn't been affected because it's underground and we also have a limited supply of cos and oak leaf lettuces, coriander and basil and spring onions and scallions."

All products could be purchased online at www.crystalorganics.org or through the Crystal Organics Facebook page.

Ms Maymann also warned shoppers to take extra care with washing produce whilst the bug plague persisted.

"It's really important to practicing washing produce because this is such an unusual plague, even some of the convential growers have been using the heavy chemicals.

"A lot of growers may be saying they're spray free but this is our livelihood and not everyone plays ball so washing produce is important."


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