NOT ENOUGH: The weekend rain was hardly sufficient for Ballandean tomato farmer Michael Simpson.  Photo: Hayden Smith / Stanthorpe Border Post
NOT ENOUGH: The weekend rain was hardly sufficient for Ballandean tomato farmer Michael Simpson. Photo: Hayden Smith / Stanthorpe Border Post Hayden Smith

The dry ‘will take its toll’ on the Granite Belt

RECENT rainfall has failed to ease the burden for a number of drought-weary Granite Belt farmers.

Stanthorpe officially recorded 27ml over the weekend -significantly less than the predicted 40ml.

Ballandean-based tomato farmer Michael Simpson welcomed Saturday's downpour, but said a lot more rain was needed for the upcoming growing season.

"They talked up the rain, but everywhere needs more," he said.

"Another inch would have been good."

Mr Simpson, who owns and operates Simpson Produce with his wife Lee-ann, is one of the last local growers in line for access to the Severn River.

He said he was concerned ahead of the warmer months, as the property's weir levels slowly diminished.

"We've got enough to make a start, but if the rain doesn't pick up then we're in trouble," he said.

"We need the river to be running."

More than 75% of Queensland has now been drought declared, and Mr Simpson said continued dry conditions would eventually take its toll on even more local farmers.

"A lot of people will be in trouble if it doesn't end," he said.

Pozieres orchardist Daniel Nicoletti said the industry was accustomed to dealing with droughts.

"It has been a bit of a concern, but we've all been doing it for a long time," he said.

"We had 32ml at Pozieres - it was very welcome and will help a great deal with soil moisture."

Agriculture Minister John McVeigh said a significant lack of rainfall had led to the deterioration in rural pastures across the south-east.

"Unfortunately, the dry winter and heavy frosts from the cold nights have hit pastures in the south-east," he said.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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