Or­chards hit hard by hail

Central and North Burnett Times - - LOCAL NEWS - Bran­don Livesay

OR­CHARDISTS who suf­fered se­vere hail dam­age in De­cem­ber will meet to dis­cuss their op­tions tonight.

Judy Shep­herd, from the Gayn­dah Fruit Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, said or­chardists would be try­ing to get a dec­la­ra­tion of ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances at the meet­ing.

“There have been 19 or­chards with greater than 50% dam­age, and of those be­tween 10 and 11 had 70–100% dam­age,” Mrs Shep­herd said.

“A rea­son­able num­ber of or­chards out­side those 19 would have some sort of dam­age,” she said. “Fi­nan­cially, the ma­jor part of the losses are go­ing to be felt around Novem­ber, De­cem­ber this year.

“The trees have also been ab­so­lutely shred­ded and are at high risk of disease de­vel­op­ing in the dam­aged leaves.”

Grow­ers are es­ti­mat­ing 1200 bins of imperials (domestic sales) and about 2500 to 3000 bins of mur­cott (ex­port sales) have been lost.

The De­part­ment of Agricul- ture, Fish­eries and Forestry lists three main cri­te­ria for ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances – the event must be rare and se­vere, re­sult in a rare and se­vere down­turn in farm in­come over a pro­longed pe­riod, and the event must not be pre­dictable or part of a process of struc­tural align­ment.

Mayor Don Waugh said there were ways or­chardists could be helped. “The idea of the meet­ing was to let the or­chardists know what sup­port is avail­able to them,” Cr Waugh said.“We’re look­ing at low in­ter­est loans, and sub­si­dies on sprays and fer­tilis­ers.

“Th­ese sorts of things need to be put in place. It’s an in­dus­try that’s al­ready un­der threat from im­ports.”

A De­part­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries of­fi­cer will at­tend the meet­ing in Gayn­dah’s sup­per room at 6pm to­day.

Photo: Contributed

WRITE-OFF: Dam­aged fruit at Roths Or­chard, which had al­most 100% losses and no mar­ketable fruit.

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