Orchardist Angus Ferrier was interviewed on  ABC News Breakfast .
Orchardist Angus Ferrier was interviewed on ABC News Breakfast . DEIRDRE SMITH

'New ground in lost production'

STONE fruit grower Angus Ferrier has a few strategies in place to help in surviving the wrath of drought, but said they came at a cost.

"I'll probably get half a crop this summer," he said.

A resident of Pikedale, Mr Ferrier is a third-generation farmer, but only the first in fruit as his parents made the decision to move out of wool.

He has already destroyed 10 per cent of his fruit trees and plans to rip up another 10 per cent.

Mr Ferrier is the president of the Granite Belt Growers Association and spoke to ABC News Breakfast presenter, Michael Rowland, about the effects of the drought in Stanthorpe on Monday.

"Destroying them is a strategy," he said.

"But alternative strategies involve some costs."

Mr Ferrier said it cost $50,000 a hectare to establish trees to the fruit-bearing stage and that it was a difficult decision to destroy them before their natural time.

"I am somewhat insignificant in the national scheme," he said.

"But Stanthorpe is definitely a player."

Tree croppers and vegetable croppers are represented in the growers association.

Apart from apples, Stanthorpe is also a major producer of salad greens.

Mr Ferrier said there would be a "drastic reduction" in vegetable production, with growers having reduced or no planting but tree croppers had fewer options.

"Because you have a permanent planting, you need to persevere," he said.

"Water affects production short term and the long-term health of the tree.

"We are breaking new ground in lost production."