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Winter veggie crops in 'green drought'

THE LOCKYER Valley's broccoli crops are going to need the perfect balance of recent wet weather combined with the right dose of sunshine to keep up their robust growing pace.

While there is no immediate threat to veggie farmers, with the Lockyer Valley escaping the latest round of South East Queensland drought decelerations, 2018 growing seasons are under threat of drying out.

Lockyer Valley Growers Group president Michael Sippel said parts of the valley had been drenched with falls of up to 60 or 80mms over the past week and while the rain was a nice change from the year's dry conditions, it did little to restore under ground and creek storage water levels.

"Most growers really enjoyed the rain, it has put a nice amount of subsoil moisture due to being nice steady rain," he said.

"At the moment we're in a bit of a green drought, our major storages are at low level and growers are back on bore water to grow their crops rather than relying on the dam and rain water.

"The rain has been great but a lot of farmers are keen to get back on the ground, they'd like to see the sun come out now."

Mr Sippel said many growers were getting ready to plant their winter crops of lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, carrot and onions.

"We'll get through this season no problems and still be in full production, given we've got good profile of moisture," he said.

"Going into next season, 2018, is where the real worry would be.

 

"You don't use huge amount of water through winter to grow crops. You're really only topping up the profile."

The Somerset region was unable to escape the drought and was part of the majority of neighbouring regions drought committees and the State Government declared as in drought earlier this month.

Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne said the latest declarations brought the total area of Queensland where drought was declared to 87.47%.

"That is the highest ever and I am still waiting for some committees to send me their recommendations," Mr Byrne said.

"I have been advised that while some parts of the South East Queensland have received some patchy storm rainfall over the summer season, good general rainfall across the whole region has not been received.

Drought declared producers are able to access DRAS fodder and water freight subsidies and emergency water infrastructure rebates as well as access to other programs in the Queensland Drought Assistance Package if they are eligible.

This includes relief from electricity charges, land rent rebates and water licence waivers as well as access to a number of community and mental health programs.

The threshold for a drought declaration is generally a once in 10 to 15 year rainfall deficiency.

Topics:  drought ipswich weather lockyer valley


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