DISAPPOINTING: Granite Belt Growers Association president Angus Ferrrier said it was “bloody disappointing” to loose orchards to drought.
DISAPPOINTING: Granite Belt Growers Association president Angus Ferrrier said it was “bloody disappointing” to loose orchards to drought.

Warm June not making producers’ blood run cold

GROWERS across the region are yet to fear the warmer June nights, with optimal cropping weather just around the corner.

While frosty mornings have been sparse early this winter, Granite Belt Growers Association president Angus Ferrier said the best was yet to come.

“I personally have felt that this June has not been abnormal; I’ve often thought that we don’t get into our proper winter weather until July,” he said.

“I would say that as a tree crop grower, our trees have been a bit slower to go into dormancy.

“But I would attribute that to a very late and sudden flush of growth after rain in February, that’s a bigger contributor to the late dormancy than a warm June.”

Mr Ferrier’s Traprock farm is home peach, plum and nectarine orchards.

He expects the predicted cooler weather during July and August will be beneficial to his orchards, which are still suffering through the effects of drought.

“This drought has taken its toll on orchard planting and I’m assuming there will be a carry-over level of stress that could effect productivity in the coming season,” he said.

“I’m certainly assuming that in my orchards.

“That’s an ongoing question and ongoing uncertainty in the district as to how much we can produce in the region.”

Mr Ferrier expects it will take at least 10 years and “hundreds of thousands of dollars“ to replace lost orchards.

“We lost around a quarter of our orchards because of the drought,” he said.

“Prior to that, it was inconceivable to lose tress because of the drought.

“It’s bloody disappointing to have the last 10 years of work undone by drought.

“However, we have plans to rebuild our orchard and part of that plan is to rebuild it to be more profitable than before.”

With forecasts of late spring rain this season, Mr Ferrier remains hopeful his orchards will produce this season.

“The latest forecast that I’ve taken notice of is that they’ve delayed the wetter conditions to September and October,” he said.

“Which starts to coincide with an increase in our average rainfall months.

“If it rains in winter you’ve got water in your dam. But rain in the spring; nothing beats rain for the health and vitality of your trees, so in crop rain is very desirable.

“But beggars can’t be choosers.”