Farmer says it’s tough­est sea­son on record

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

WITH more than 100 years of his­tory in the Bur­nett re­gion, a farm­ing fam­ily has high spirits af­ter fac­ing their tough­est sea­son yet.

Last Oc­to­ber a dam­ag­ing hail­storm tore through their prop­erty at Kumbia, leav­ing crops destroyed and wasted fruit all over the ground.

Now, as they nearly en­ter their next stone fruit sea­son Shane Fran­cis ex­plained how the fam­ily-op­er­ated busi­ness has man­aged to stay afloat.

“It def­i­nitely hasn’t been an easy sea­son,” Mr Fran­cis said.

“We have had to go into debt to hail proof our­selves.

“We put up an­other net in case we get an­other hail storm.

“In pre­vi­ous years the fruits might of been masked on the trees, but last year they were com­pletely ru­ined,” he said.

De­spite their bad for­tune Mr Fran­cis said he felt lucky com­pared to other grow­ers across the state.

“We know some guys down at Stan­thorpe and they are not go­ing to be able to pro­duce much this year.

“They haven’t had rain for a long time down there and are strug­gling to get fruit from their trees,” he said.

Af­ter a steep learn­ing curve last year Mr Fran­cis said he was con­fi­dent they would through con­tinue to pro­duce high qual­ity fruit in the re­gion.

“Hope­fully we can get a few good years un­der our belt now.

“We only have one or two days left of net­ting.

“Then we will have a break for a cou­ple of weeks and start fruit pick­ing at the end of Septem­ber,” he said.

The Fran­cis fam­ily owns and op­er­ates a stone fruit farm at Kumbia and sup­ply lo­cal ar­eas.

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