Farmer's toughest season on record causes financial strains
WITH over 100 years of history in the South Burnett region a local farming family have high spirits after facing their toughest season yet.
Last October a damaging hail storm tore through their property at Kumbia, leaving crops destroyed and wasted fruit all over the ground.
Now, as they nearly enter their next stone fruit season Shane Francis explained how the family operated business has managed to stay afloat.
"It definitely hasn't been an easy season,” Mr Francis said.
"We have had to go into debt to hail proof ourselves.
"We put up another net in case we get another hail storm.
"In previous years the fruits might of been masked on the trees, but last year they were completely ruined,” he said.
Despite their bad fortune Mr Francis said he felt lucky compared to other growers across the state.
"We know some guys down at Stanthorpe and they are not going to be able to produce much this year.
"They haven't had rain for a long time down there and are struggling to get fruit from their trees,” he said.
After a steep learning curve last year Mr Francis said he was confident they would through continue to produce high quality fruit in the region.
"Hopefully we can get a few good years under our belt now.
"We only have one or two days left of netting.
"Then we will have a break for a couple of weeks and start fruit picking at the end of September,” he said.
The Francis family owns and operates a stone fruit farm at Kumbia.
They supply the local area as well the Brisbane Markets and other metropolitan regions with peaches, nectarines, plums and avocados.