The farmers who didn’t benefit from the rain
FARMERS on the Granite Belt say recent rain has come too late to save their crops, and some have already started planning for the future, after this summer was labelled a "write-off".
The production of apples and other cold-weather fruits was already in dire straits following significant drought and bushfires in Stanthorpe and Applethorpe late last year.
But while the rest of Queensland celebrates the recent downpour, some farmers in the area say the rain won't have any meaningful impact on this season's crop.
"It's a write-off," apple grower Anthony Giacosa told The Courier-Mail.
"Financially it's going to be down a fair way (the earnings)."
"This rain sort of came a bit too late. If it would've been another month - early December - it would've made a lot more difference, especially to the fruit trees. Our fruit size is right down."
The Giacosa family, from Applethorpe, endured 12 hours of chaos last September when a devastating bushfire came within metres of decimating their farm.
Freezing cold winds pushed the massive bushfire towards their apple orchard - singeing the fruit netting but miraculously leaving their prized crop mostly untouched.
But as they reflected on evacuating their young children and fighting the blaze side-by-side with their neighbours, the ordeal now seems like a distant memory due to the ongoing concerns over this summer's yield.
"We've only been looking after select blocks because our water is so down," Mr Giacosa said.
"Before this rain we were probably three weeks away from completely running out of water."
Parts of the region has received hundreds of millimetres of rain in recent weeks, which has brought some relief.
The area remains on critical-level water restrictions.
Some residents told The Courier-Mail late last year they were only showering twice a week due to the drought.
Rain in the area remains patchy - to the point that Mr Giacosa said he could often see it rain on his neighbour's property, but not his own.
"I watch (the forecast) pretty hard - I try and study it," he said.
"Especially when it's been as bad as it has, you're looking for a bit of hope.
"So you'll look 10 days out, 14 days out.
"You're always chasing that - and then it peters out and you get a bit disappointed."
AgForce, the peak body for Queensland growers, said the threat of drought remained very real, despite the rain.
"It is important to remember, though, that one rain event does not end a drought, and good follow-up falls are needed to ensure a good growing season," chief executive Mike Guerin said.
"Some areas of the Darling Downs have received their average annual rainfall in just three weeks.
"While this was sorely needed and very welcome, it has come too late to enable growers in southern Queensland to plant a summer grain crop."
The threat of further bushfires is also never far from the minds of residents in this region.
In September, Mr Giacosa and his wife Evelyn remember the fear in their children's eyes as the blaze swept onto their property.
"The embers were just crazy," Mr Giacosa said.
"That amount of stuff that was falling out of the sky was crazy. I've never seen anything like it."
"We cleared a big section off to the western side of our house, another 20m.
"We had a good buffer zone, but just to give us heaps of space. And the kids' bedrooms are sort on that side, so they felt a lot more reassured."