John and Kate Groves with their decimated avocado crop at Mary’s Creek.
John and Kate Groves with their decimated avocado crop at Mary’s Creek. Tanya Easterby

Freak storm from the north destroys crop

A YEAR'S work and $40,000 investment were all but destroyed when freakish volumes of hail ripped into an avocado orchard at Mary's Creek on Sunday afternoon.

Nearby bean and citrus producers were also hit.

Long-time Mary's Creek farmer John Groves and his daughter Kate were philosophical about the loss yesterday, though 75% of the crop from their 4000 trees was on the ground and much of the surviving fruit was gouged and/or bruised and fit only to be sold as "seconds" come the harvest in April.

"If you didn't laugh you'd go mad," Mr Groves said, surveying his denuded hass trees and already planning the program to help his sirprise trees - both varieties of avocado - recover.

A trip of intense hail moved through Marys Creek from The Palms and Scrubby Creek about 3pm on Sunday, dumping tonnes of marble-sized ice as it went.

"We have four bad storms here (in several decades) and they have all come from the north," Mr Groves said. "It's the wrong way for them to come."

Mary's Creek received about 100mm in the weekend rainfall, which the Groves said was badly needed.

Gympie Times


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