Images of Frost Covered Produced Surface at Permaculture Operation

By Hari Yellina
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Pic supplied

Many people in the north have been feeling the effects of the current cold spell, with producers in the Mackay region being particularly hard hit. HillBilly Farm Co in Eungella’s Adam Burrows and Alicia Kidd recently published photos of frost-covered produce from their permaculture business on social media. Ms Kidd stated that they had five days in a straight of frost-covered ground, but that they were behind on plantings for the 2022 season due to the significant rainfall received earlier in May. “We don’t like to go in and disturb the soil when it’s damp when we want to prepare the beds for planting,” she explained. “It’s far from perfect. “We missed the opportunity to plant where we entered and get it all ready.

“Thank goodness we were ahead of schedule, because the frost would have rolled emerging seedlings regardless.” The two have spent the previous two years growing and providing vegetable boxes and running a market garden on 405 hectares (1000 acres) spread across two different companies. Prior to this, the producers had spent five years producing garlic. On the bright side, the couple intends to skip the winter season and continue planting in the spring with food such as cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes, while also focusing on their new Eton bakery, which will supply organic woodfired sourdough.

“We’re looking at it from a good standpoint,” Ms Kidd said, “and we’re delighted we haven’t lost too much more.” “There is some damage in there right now; the lettuce beds are particularly impacted. “We may be able to recover some of it, but much of it will perish immediately. “We’re simply rolling with the punches, which is what farming is all about. You’re completely dependent on the weather.” The cold snap was caused by a cool dry air mass that came up from the southern states, according to senior meteorologist Kimba Wong of the Bureau of Meteorology.

“Typically, we check for frost potential at four degrees or less as a minimal temperature,” she explained. “Because the temperature we forecast and witness is just above the ground, the earth itself could be much colder than the thermometer reading.” “For frost to form, ground temperatures must be below freezing, and what we usually need for those kinds of conditions is a cold dry air mass and clear skies to allow the ground to cool down overnight.”


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