EYE ON THE SKY: While the warm weather is welcome Glenore Grove vegetable farmer Brett Simon said it meant farmers would need to spray for diseases more often through the winter.
EYE ON THE SKY: While the warm weather is welcome Glenore Grove vegetable farmer Brett Simon said it meant farmers would need to spray for diseases more often through the winter. Dominic Elsome

Cold snap slows crop growth, but effects won't last long

TEMPERATURES in the Lockyer Valley during last week's cold snap might not have been as freezing as some areas, but they were enough to stop vegetable growth in it's tracks.

While warmer weather has returned, the cold snap was a shock, especially given the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a warmer than average winter.

With the predictions leading some growers to plant varieties to better handle the heat, a cold snap could seriously affect theses crops.

Glenore Grove farmer Brett Simon growers broccolini, shallots and silverbeat across three hundred acres.

While he's stuck to his usual varieties this season, he still noticed an impact from the cold weather.

"It did slow everything down just a bit, when it continues to get cold it just keeps slows everything down even further,” Mr Simon said.

"Seed takes longer to come up when it's cold like that.”

Luckily though, the cold snap didn't last long with above average temperatures quickly replacing the cold weather.

Mr Simon said the short nature of the cold spell meant there weren't likely to be any long term efffects to crops in the region.

"There may be some timing affects for harvesting - everything sort of slows up and then you might get a heap at once if it warms up again,” he said.

"It pushes (harvest) back by week to week, so you might be four or five days behind when it gets cold and they don't grow as fast.

"It's a hard thing to judge when they're going to come on basically.”

The warmer than average winter could prove to be a boon for local producers as well.

"There's a benefit if it's warmer up here and cold and miserable down south - that'll be good for us because demand will slow up down there and we'll be able to keep going and produce with ease,” he said.

But it also comes at a cost.

"If it stays warm and humid, it brings more diseases, than when it's cold and dry,” he said.

"You have to constantly spray if it's warmer.”

All that's left for growers to do now, is wait and see what the weather does next.

Glenore Grove vegetable farmer Brett Simon
Glenore Grove vegetable farmer Brett Simon Dominic Elsome

No effect on crops or pests

SHIVERING temperatures last week won't have drastic effects on winter crops according to agronomists - so long as it stay warm from here on out.

With the Bureau of Meteorology predicting a warmer than average winter, many growers made the decision to plant warmer climate varieties to better handle the increased temperatures.

But the cold snap, which brought snow to the Granite Belt and set new temperature records across the southeast corner, stopped these warmer varieties in their tracks according to Elders agronomist Greg Teske.

"We probably won't really know for another week or so yet how they'll respond,” Mr Teske said.

"In general, if we use broccoli for example, it has just stopped it, it's not maturing.”

The short lived nature of the cold snap meant long term affects would be minimal, but Mr Teske said if cold temperatures returned for longer periods of time - it could stop crops from maturing.

"If that does happen, it could lead to shortages of market supply,” he said.

Unfortunately the short lived nature of the cold snap meant it is also unlikely to reduce pest numbers, which are expected to be higher this winter with the warmer weather.

"I'm walking in broccoli and Diamond Back Moths are out and flying,” Mr Teske said.

"It's had minimal effect on pests.

"To have a real impact on pests we need consistent, cool mornings and cool daytime temperatures.”


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