Kerry Alcock describes his Cyclone Larry experience, 2008

Transcript of interview

Larry totally destroyed our whole farm. There was nothing any more than 18 inches high on the ground. These are plants, you know, 5 to 7 m high normally, and everything was just flat. There was nothing left. It was just like a roller or something had driven over the whole farm. This uprooted a lot of our stock, our plants, and we had to replant. And we started off with these pots, to give us a start, then after three or four months when we got the pots up and away, we planted them and then we started on what they call 'suckers' or 'bits' and we just gradually planted them all the way through, up to the end of the year. We had to plant about, oh, I think it was 65,000 pots and suckers. But my philosophy is we live in a cyclone-prone area, you know, the industry's been pretty good to us, you know, over the years. We're just myself and two boys in the family ... we're a family set-up ... It would have cost us, we estimated, about $3 million in lost crop and establishing a new crop, but we sort of expect that. You know, every four or five years you're going to get some sort of a knockdown in growing bananas in the tropics here. You know, we had our last one in [19]99, we had one that destroyed 40 per cent of our farm and [19]97 I think it was about 40 per cent. But [19]86 and 2006, Winifred and Larry, they were total disasters. We didn't have one tree ... we didn't have one bunch that you could recover to send away to the market. Everything was destroyed.