‘Phenomenal’: Business and residents boosted by rain
IN OCTOBER Traprock Orchard’s John Pratt was fearing the worst.
“None of us really know if we’re going to be here next year,” he told the Border Post late last year.
Four and a bit months on and after receiving close to 300mm, Mr Pratt has a renewed confidence.
The last four years the orchard, 50 kilometres west of Stanthorpe, has been a “complete crash”.
The season just gone they picked about one per cent. Later this year he’s hoping that number’s closer to 50 per cent.
“Last year we totalled 182mm of rain. We’ve had very close to 300mm this year to date,” Mr Pratt said.
The Traprock country has transformed from a brown and barren wasteland to flowing green hills.
“The rain has fallen pretty much perfectly. It’s 12 months late of course but the first 150mm spread over a couple weeks was all good soaking rain.
“But it wasn’t really until we had between 40-70mm last Monday that it probably put about 60 per cent in the dam.
“Now the country is saturated and the water is running out of the hills so the dam’s full now.”
Now they need a good hit of sunlight for the trees to respond.
“I wouldn’t even be surprised if some trees have got wet feet.
“It’s been amazing. Very rare.
“I think we’ll probably end up with half the orchard.”
It’s still not perfect, but it’s a different situation to when Mr Pratt thought going into 2020 they may have no business left come March-April.
“It’s a lot easier to talk to a bank manager when you’ve got a dam full of water and green grass.
“To get back to where we were I think we’d have to replace between 15 and 18,000 trees,” Mr Pratt said.
They’ve also managed to preserve 95 per cent of their sheep stock.
The feeling among the Traprock and Pikedale community has been bolstered however.
“A phenomenal change … in such a short period of time.
“I think there’s a couple places in this area I don’t think I’ve seen look any better.
“You just hope everyone’s got something out of it.”