​Citrus farmers in the North Burnett Region praise the recent storms for bringing ‘beautiful’ rain. Picture: File.
​Citrus farmers in the North Burnett Region praise the recent storms for bringing ‘beautiful’ rain. Picture: File.

North Burnett citrus farmers loving the ‘beautiful’ rain

THE North Burnett has been blessed with long-awaited rainfall, but no one has appreciated it more than the farmers.

According to BOM Meteorologist Pieter Classen the North Burnett received a total rainfall of approximately 80mm throughout the month of October.

Gayndah citrus grower Billie Harris said the downpours have been "absolutely beautiful", but the hail not so much.

"There's nothing better than rain out of the sky, it always has the best stuff in it for growing," Ms Harris said.

"We got a little bit of hail so that's not good, but we just need a little bit more rain."

Ms Harris said one of last week's storms brought some unwanted hail with it, which can damage the growing fruit.

"It didn't cover the whole orchard," she said.

"[The hail] will mark and leave a skin defect."

Ms Harris said the pickers will try to remove any damaged fruit in the thinning process, a technique used to increase the fruit size before harvest.

"Hail and wind are your worst enemies," she said.

"If you can afford to have netting you can try and protect the trees."

Mandarin grower Russell Baker said rain is "certainly" good at this time of year for his orchard.

"Just prior to harvest is bad for citrus, you can have a lot of skin issues just prior to harvest, but now is good," Mr Baker said.

Fruitgrowers Association secretary Judy Sheppard said the farmers have to be careful they don't get too much rain, too quickly.

"We are just always very wary around this time with storms, particularly hail as it's not a great thing to happen," Ms Sheppard said.

Ms Sheppard said due to the fruit's small size, unless it's an extremely large hailstorm, the damage can be managed later on.

"You have to take the storms in order to get rain, unfortunately," she said.


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