TOMATOES GALORE: Scott Carnell has been flat-out harvesting tomatoes after the heatwave.
TOMATOES GALORE: Scott Carnell has been flat-out harvesting tomatoes after the heatwave. Liana Turner

Region's heated harvest

THE heat may have subsided since the weekend, but the pain will be ongoing for some.

As the Granite Belt hit record temperatures of 39.7°C on Saturday and 39.3°C on Sunday, the region's food producers scrambled to protect their crops from the searing heat.

Many farmers agreed the region's hottest weekend on record led to the worst heat-related damage they'd seen.

Stewart Gow said his capsicums had been scorched by the heat.

Mr Gow said they had lost about 10% of the crop, but he said the heat had been an ongoing problem.

"We've still got a percentage we can pack and sell," Mr Gow said.

Scott Carnell from West Holm said his roma tomatoes had been ripening too quickly, and while quality wasn't necessarily a problem, this meant less of the yield could be sold.

He was hopeful with cooler days in sight the later crops would be better off.

"The younger stuff's alright," Mr Carnell said.

Chris Wren said he and wife Jenny, who own Wrens Valley Produce had seen significant damage to their broccolini.

"We're probably 30 to 40% down on production at the moment," Mr Wren said.

"It's been tough going, that's for sure."

He said the hot weather had led to difficult conditions for his crops since the year began.

"The parts that are sun-effected, they're going to be very low-production," Mr Wren said.

Colin Britton said much of his leafy greens, in Thulimbah were damaged.

"Quality has been reduced greatly, and the yield as well," Mr Britton said. Mr Britton said about 30% of his yield was lost due to the high temperatures, and hoped better conditions could bring them a stronger late harvest.

"Cooler weather, and a little bit of rain would be nice," he said.

Pozieres grower Jeff McMahon said his apples, pears and celery were strained in the heat.

He said his strawberries could later be impacted, as high temperatures could stop them from flowering.

The pressure was now on to harvest quickly-ripening produce.

Symphony Hill winemaker Mike Hayes said the vineyards had been doing well during the heatwave.

Stanthorpe Border Post


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