Lockyer Valley Growers Association president Michael Sippel.
Lockyer Valley Growers Association president Michael Sippel. Ali Kuchel

Break-even season hits farmers back pockets

DESPITE an excellent growing season, Lockyer Valley farmers have been hit in the hip pocket with below average prices for fresh produce this year.

Ideal growing conditions meant farmers were able to plant all year, which led to an oversupply in the market.

Lockyer Valley Growers Association president Michael Sippel said it was a "break-even" type of year for the farmers, who were desperately awaiting rain.

"At the moment we are a bit uncertain about next season and unsure about how we are going to start," he said.

"We want a rain event to put water back into the creeks and fill dams."

Mr Sippel said this season's below-average prices would not have been an issue if the previous season had been good.

But two bad seasons in a row did not help the farmers or the local economy.

Several growers were also upset by the water proposal allocations by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.

With some farmers approaching 100 years of farming in the Lockyer Valley, Mr Sippel said many were worried.

He said if unrealistic water allocations came into effect it would restrict growing capacity and land values.

"Farmers' land values are dictated by the amount of water they have under their farms," he said.

He said the Lockyer Water Collaborative would return a submission to DNRM early next year, outlining a fairer, equitable plan.


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