Solid sea­son ahead

Farm­ers op­ti­mistic for onion har­vest de­spite drought

Gatton Star - - INTO RURAL - Nathan Greaves [email protected]­ton­star.com.au

THERE has been lit­tle re­lief for farm­ers from the on­go­ing drought but as onion sea­son ap­proaches, this isn’t en­tirely bad news for grow­ers.

“The funny thing with onions is, when it doesn’t rain for so long, it gen­er­ally rains when you’re about to har­vest,” Quali­pac di­rec­tor Troy Qualis­chef­ski said.

“Tra­di­tion­ally onions start har­vest in Oc­to­ber and that’s usu­ally the start of the storm sea­son. But if it does rain, that’s still a pos­i­tive.”

Quali­pac spe­cialises in grow­ing, pack­ing and sup­ply­ing high-qual­ity pro­duce through­out Aus­tralia and over­seas.

The com­pany’s op­er­a­tions oc­cupy more than 1000ha of land through­out the Lock­yer Val­ley and Dar­ling Downs ar­eas.

They grow a va­ri­ety of pro­duce, in­clud­ing broc­coli, pump­kins and onions.

The Quali­pac name was reg­is­tered in 1988 but the Qualis­chef­skis were farm­ing long be­fore then.

“We’ve been pro­duc­ing onions since 1932,” Mr Qualis­chef­ski said.

“Apart from the chal­lenges of no help from above, this has been a pretty good sea­son.”

Though rain would be po­ten­tially dam­ag­ing if it came dur­ing the peak of har­vest, the wa­ter short­age has still had an im­pact.

“With dry weather, you don’t get the yield that you would like to get and ob­vi­ously the cost of ir­ri­ga­tion is quite ex­pen­sive,” he said.

“The dry weather just poses all sorts of chal­lenges. The drought will al­ways break but when? Not know­ing is chal­leng­ing.”

The onion har­vest isn’t set to be­gin for an­other two to three weeks but Mr Qualis­chef­ski is con­fi­dent in the cur­rent crop and his com­pany’s abil­ity to deal with dif­fi­cul­ties.

“There are chal­lenges but it’s noth­ing new,” he said.

“It’s some­thing we’ve al­ways been aware of. We’ve been do­ing it a long time, so we know what to ex­pect.”

❝ Apart from the chal­lenges of no help from above, this has been a pretty good sea­son. — Troy Qualis­chef­ski

PHOTO: AMY LYNE

POS­I­TIVE OUT­LOOK: Quali­pac di­rec­tor Troy Qualis­chef­ski has con­fi­dence in this year’s onion har­vest de­spite the drought.

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