Stanthorpe growers battling drought and water-shortages had some long overdue relief this week, with the widespread rain nationally delivering good falls of around 78mm to the region.
APAL director and Stanthorpe grower Rosie Savio said while it wasn’t ‘drought-breaking’, on the back of over 100mm in January this week’s rain would take some pressure off growers, who have been forced to truck water in at around $16,000 a megalitre after local dams ran dry.
“It goes a long way,” she said.
Growers started picking Gala in the region this week.
Rosie said the falls would also wet soil sufficiently to provide some run off into parched dams if the rain continues.
But she said, while the rain would be enough to tide some growers through, for others it had come too late.
Some had already lost trees to the drought. Others were facing major management challenges as drought-stressed trees responded to the sudden deluge by bursting into out of season flower and some Gala showing cracking.
Growers may still be forced to ship in water to keep their orchards alive.
A 49.2 mm deluge on Sunday night brought the total rainfall above the February average, with more predicted on the way for the rest of the week.
Stanthorpe rain report for February so far. Source: farmonlineweather.com.au
APAL spoke with some other local growers up in Stanthorpe about the effect.
“The ground is wet. The dams aren’t full, but water is making its way into the dams and there is more rain forecast for the rest of the week,” said one.
“It’s not the end of the drought. But it’s a damn good start.”