Future is drying up for Coalstoun Lakes farmers
THEY might have some of the most fertile land in the country, but without water Coalstoun Lakes farmers say they face a grim future.
Rackemann Resources' Mark Rackemann said a lack of a permanent water supply had kept morale low.
"This is the third hit we've had," he said.
"It's pretty bloody crook. This season's peanut crop is very ordinary." Mr Rackemann said he could see why people have given up on the industry.
"In our case, none of us is getting any younger," he said.
"I don't like being negative but I don't know what our long-term future is unless there is a change.
"That means a water supply."
According to Mr Rackemann, Coalstoun Lakes is the only intensive cropping area in the Central Burnett.
"This is testament to the natural fertility of the soil and its user friendliness makes for a very unique soil structure," he said.
"Our valley has the capability of being the food bowl capital of the country but it is nothing without water."
The Coalstoun Lakes Development Group has a submitted a feasibility study to Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce to secure water for the area.
Mr Rackeman said Coalstoun Lakes farmers still wanted water from Paradise Dam.
"You just never know what will happen," he said.
"With our block at Ban Ban Springs our family has proved what we can achieve using trickle irrigation.
"The valley only need/want 24-30 megalitres - which isn't much in the scheme of things.
"There is 100 mega litres just sitting at Paradise Dam that Sunwater can't sell."
Farmers have potential for good crop with rain
IT'S the early days for the harvest of the peanut and corn crops, but Coalstoun Lakes farmers are in survival mode.
This season every rain event has evaded them.
Farmer Mark Rackemann said since the crop was planted the only substantial rain was 112.5mm over three days and some light showers.
"With the lack of rain the tap root hasn't got wet," he said.
Mr Rackemann said he believed the peanut crop after the hot days and lack of rain would be an aflatoxin nightmare.
"I can just imagine the aflatoxin glow," he said.
"This will just kill the grades.
"Fingers crossed if we are fortunate to get rain in the very near future, the affected pods will fall off and the greener ones fill out.
"We will then end up with a better quality."
Mr Rackemann said the fisher variety was good but had the potential to come unstuck.
But he said the corn was a good colour and was now tasselling and silking.
"It has the potential for a good crop but won't be if we don't get rain at this critical stage," he said.
"Plus grain prices have dropped.
"It costs as much to plant corn as peanuts."
Luckily for Rackemann Resources they do have trickle irrigation for their watermelon crop at their Ban Ban Springs property.
The family have taken the punt and planted a further crop (of watermelons) as well as a couple of varieties of pumpkins.
Mr Rackemann said for the first time they were trialling mung beans where last season's watermelons were planted.