Down­pours not all great news

Gatton Star - - NEWS - Me­gan Masters me­gan.masters@thechron­i­cle.com.au

AF­TER an ex­tended stretch with­out rain, most city folk would be for­given for think­ing of the rain as a bless­ing.

But for pri­mary pro­duc­ers, rain was only good when it came at the right time and re­cent down­pours left many in the Lock­yer Val­ley feel­ing pretty up­set. Af­ter a hot and dry win­ter marked by spend­ing a for­tune on elec­tric­ity to pump wa­ter to crops, many pro­duc­ers ar­rived at har­vest time only to find their fields wa­ter­logged and in some cases, their pro­duce de­stroyed.

Lock­yer Val­ley Grow­ers pres­i­dent Michael Sip­pel said onion grow­ers were among the hard­est hit when down­pours of up to 80mm fell.

“The rain has been okay for some, but prob­a­bly more of a hin­drance for oth­ers,” he said.

“The prob­lem is we’ve bat­tled for the last four months to grow the crop in an un­sea­son­ably warm win­ter, but now, when we tra­di­tion­ally har­vest, they can’t get them out of the ground.

“Some grow­ers are get­ting out today but there’s a threat of more rain on the way and the ground is wa­ter­logged, so it’s not easy har­vest­ing.”

On Zac Van­stone’s Crow­ley Vale farm they were pleased to see some rain fall, but fi­nally got to the stage where it looked like their Christ­mas plant­ing of shal­lots was un­der threat.

Van­stone Pro­duce grew broc­col­ini, sil­ver­beet and shal­lots, with dou­ble the shal­lot pro­duc­tion around Christ­mas time.

He said so far they had missed two plant­ings and there was a threat of more rain on the way.

“The rain we got the week­end be­fore last was wel­come and re­ally needed to re­place sub-soil mois­ture, but an­other 10 days of it was too much,” he said.

PHOTO: ME­LANIE KEYTE

MIXED BLESS­ING: Ross Van­stone of Van­stone Pro­duce ap­pre­ci­ated the rain in the Lock­yer Val­ley.

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