CONFIDENT: Qualipac director Troy Qualischefski with their onions.
CONFIDENT: Qualipac director Troy Qualischefski with their onions. Amy Lyne

Farmers optimistic for onion harvest despite drought

THERE has been little relief for farmers from the ongoing drought but as onion season approaches, this isn't entirely bad news for growers.

"The funny thing with onions is, when it doesn't rain for so long, it generally rains when you're about to harvest,” Qualipac director Troy Qualischefski said.

"Traditionally onions start harvest in October and that's usually the start of the storm season. But if it does rain, that's still a positive.”

Qualipac specialises in growing, packing and supplying high-quality produce throughout Australia and overseas.

The company's operations occupy more than 1000ha of land throughout the Lockyer Valley and Darling Downs areas.

They grow a variety of produce, including broccoli, pumpkins and onions.

The Qualipac name was registered in 1988 but the Qualischefskis were farming long before then.

"We've been producing onions since 1932,” Mr Qualischefski said.

"Apart from the challenges of no help from above, this has been a pretty good season.”

Though rain would be potentially damaging if it came during the peak of harvest, the water shortage has still had an impact.

"With dry weather, you don't get the yield that you would like to get and obviously the cost of irrigation is quite expensive,” he said.

"The dry weather just poses all sorts of challenges. The drought will always break but when? Not knowing is challenging.”

The onion harvest isn't set to begin for another two to three weeks but Mr Qualischefski is confident in the current crop and his company's ability to deal with difficulties.

"There are challenges but it's nothing new,” he said.

"It's something we've always been aware of. We've been doing it a long time, so we know what to expect.”