THAT'S GOLD: Kate Groves from Mary's Creek is a happy farmer with all these frosts about.
THAT'S GOLD: Kate Groves from Mary's Creek is a happy farmer with all these frosts about. Renee Albrecht

Region chilled by coldest snap in 4 years, farmers thrilled

THE region's coldest winter in four years may have set city teeth chattering, but farmers have been left thrilled by the chill which has bolstered their crops.

Since Saturday, Gympie's average morning temp has been less than 1C with Saturday and Tuesday both sinking below freezing (-0.3C and -0.6C) - well below the July average of 6.3C.

BoM forecaster Adam Blazak said it had been four years since the region was list hit by a string of nights reaching 0C or below in one week.

 

Kate Groves, one happy farmer.
Kate Groves, one happy farmer. Renee Albrecht

"Looking at the forecast over the last couple of years, it looks like 2014 was similar to this year, with some below negative nights," Mr Blazak said.

While the cold snap may have left residents struggling to get out of bed, it has been embraced by the region's farmers.

Mary's Creek avocado farmer Lesley Groves said the wintery shift was "great", especially given the last few years.

"We do appreciate the cold snap," she said.

"A clear definition of one season to another is great.

"Last year was disappointing.

"We'd like to have seen a bit more of the low temperature stuff.

"We haven't actually seen a cold winter."

 

Chris Doyle with a picking knife used nick the pineapple stalk to make breaking off the fruit easier in some varieties.
Chris Doyle with a picking knife used nick the pineapple stalk to make breaking off the fruit easier in some varieties.

Their avocado crop was not the only winner out of the early morning frosts.

"It breaks the cycle of a large number parasites that do affect cattle," Mrs Groves said.

"We're still shivering in our beds, but have a look at the trees and they just eat it up."

Calico Creek bean farmer Peter Treichel said the snap was a minor hiccup for his produce but great for "knocking out" insects which might threaten it.

And for those who might have been hurt by the cold like Mary Valley pineapple farmer Chris Doyle, a little forethought goes a long way.

Mr Doyle said he had only sprayed an anti-stress oil on his crops "the other night", a move which ensured the cold would have no effect unless the temperature dropped below 0C.

 

Avocados are helped by clear seasons, farmers say.
Avocados are helped by clear seasons, farmers say. Bev Lacey

"It's getting close," Mr Doyle said.

"If it goes under zero I'll have a major problem."

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for those tired of shivering through the night, though.

From tomorrow residents can look forward to waking up to temperatures about 5-7C (except for one last dip into 3C on Sunday).

Mr Blazak said the cooler temperatures were due to a trough moving south.

"There's a bit of moisture in the air, but once that trough makes its way through it will still be quite cold," he said.

The cold temperatures will also be mostly restricted to the night, with the days set to reach 22-26C over the next week.

 

Beans.
Beans. John Gass /

Those looking for a drop of rain or two will be disappointed though.

With the exception of tomorrow (where there is a slight chance of 0-0.4mm falling) every day through to Wednesday is expected to be sunny or partly cloudy, with not a trace of wet weather to be found in the forecast.

The lowest July temperature reached last year was 0.6C on Saturday, July 22.

This was recorded at the start of the coldest seven-day stretch of the month, with the temperature averaging 1.6C from July 21-27.

It dropped below 1C three times during that week but never dipped below freezing.

Gympie Times


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