HAPPY DAYS: Late winter rain has sparked hope for growers across the Granite Belt, desperate to survive the difficulties of drought.
HAPPY DAYS: Late winter rain has sparked hope for growers across the Granite Belt, desperate to survive the difficulties of drought.

Rain sparks hope of promising season for producers

SOUTHERN Downs growers were given a boost of confidence they can pick a crop this season, after a wet weekend on the region.

Residents on the Granite Belt recorded between 30 and 50mm of rain between Friday and Saturday.

Eastern Colour director Nathan Baronio said their Applethorpe farm recorded a “brilliant” 51mm of rain.

“We caught water in our dams, we’ve got more water for the season, we’ve got enough to go through to March,” Mr Baronio said.

“The ground was a bit wet from the rain we got the previous week, so it was really good for the soil moisture.”

Mr Baronio said the late winter rain was a welcomed surprise as apple trees were nearing the end of their dormancy.

Farmer Nathan Baronio said last weekend’s rain was brilliant and what was needed for the summer ahead. Liam Kidston.
Farmer Nathan Baronio said last weekend’s rain was brilliant and what was needed for the summer ahead. Liam Kidston.

It’s a stark contrast to the position the apple and strawberry farm was in last August, according to Mr Baronio.

“The crops were significantly down and the drought impacted the quality,” he said.

“If you had a look at the general landscape this time last year, it’s just chalk and cheese.

“(The rain) is exciting and encouraging, and we’re looking forward to the point where we’re not desperate.”

The region, which remains under extreme water restrictions and water carting, has seen a slight increase to its main water supply at Storm King Dam.

The dam currently sits at 385ML, up 1.2 per cent in the past seven days.

Quaffers on Storm King Dam owner Debbie Haley said the recent downpour was the morale booster the town needed.

“Everyone gets excited even for 5mm, being in a country situation, we could get 35mm and the next neighbour could get 5mm – it’s the luck of the draw,” Ms Haley said.

“We never get rain in winter, but now some of the grass is green and you see all the native plants starting to come out and grow again.”

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