Australia Weather News

Rob Patch's best plants only produced fix to six peanuts each this season, down from 25 to 30. - ABC

It is crunch time for peanut growers on the South Burnett facing a potentially disastrous season.

Queensland sweltered through its hottest summer on record this year, with low November rainfall leaving growers with little-to-no soil moisture for planting.

Kingaroy farmer Rob Patch said many growers planted in the hope of receiving heavy falls during December through to February.

"I could nearly cry on my breakfast. It's been a horrendous season so far," Mr Patch said.

"It's been the hottest, driest February on record."

Normally each plant would produce about 25 to 30 peanuts, but the best of this season's crop only has five to six.

Mr Patch said this week's rain has offered a glimmer of hope, with some plants producing new flowers.

"It's not saved the crop but it's got potential again," he said.

"If this was the beginning of the season, I'd say it was going to be a good season," he said.

Growers now face the gamble of harvesting the few peanuts they have, or wait for the new flowering plants to develop, and risk losing it all to frost.

This could mean a price hike for Australian peanuts.

Peanut Company of Australia operations general manager Steve Magnussen said due to this year's poor outlook, they have had to pay farmers more to grow the legume.

"You have to compete with other crops on their gross margin with the farmer, so obviously we have to pay enough to interest them to grow the peanuts," he said.

Australians consume approximately 60,000 tonnes of peanuts per year, local growers produce about a third of that.

ABC