THE poppy industry in Tasmania is within 12 days of facing its biggest crisis since inception, with the possibility of tens of millions of dollars of lost turnover, if this year's crop cannot be finished being planted by then, according to Poppy Growers Tasmania president Glynn Williams.
``I am personally aware of farmers who have all but given up hope of planting poppies,'' Mr Williams said.
He said his North Motton farm was looking more like a mud run and Northern farmers say they have never seen rainfall like it in their living memory.
It's estimated half the Tasmanian poppy crop is in the ground.
Mr Williams said many farmers were unable to prepare and sow paddocks due to the relentless storms, rain and daily showers that were casting a long shadow over what needs to be a bright season after successive bad seasons.
Mr Williams said the weather factor was coming on top of ``the profit-robbing effect of current supply chains affecting all primary producers, and most of all cropping farmers''.
``Normally, planting stops on October 15 as poppies grow and mature according to sunlight length,'' he said.
``Planting after October 15 sees yield reduction and planting in November would be futile.
``Poppy price and area cuts earlier in the season have taken the shine off and the weather is not discriminating - even planted crops are suffering in many parts of the state with waterlogging, hail and slug damage.
``The cumulative effect will now be in the millions of dollars of lost turnover, possibly tens of millions.
``As cropping profitability is being affected by the loss of (the) McCain (factory), low prices offered by Simplot and low prices from the supermarkets, this is creating an uncertain situation for farmers, especially those with debt who have counted on poppies as part of their seasonal budgets for 2013-14.
``Worse still, we are concerned greatly that unless we get 10 to 12 dry, fine days, there will be supply shortages increasing the pressure to start growing interstate from 2014.''
Mr Williams said interstate growing would see more area cuts in Tasmania.
``We are in talks with the processors about extending the planting dates to October 31, so far no decisions have been made,'' he said.
``Downstream buyers may begin to think even harder about placing more orders overseas, such as in Spain, Turkey or France, which is an even greater threat to Tasmania than growing in Victoria.''