Burnett producers present promising crops after escaping summer floods

Clare Adcock
By Clare Adcock
Updated April 27 2022 - 12:34am, first published April 25 2022 - 4:00am
Despite a dry end to the season, the Rackemann's peanut crop is looking good. Photos: Clare Adcock

In a year where much of the North Burnett region has been devastated by floods, the Rackemann family have dodged the damage and are looking at a great season with their peanut crops.

The Rackemanns produce various crops; primarily peanuts, but also corn, pumpkins, sorghum and wheat, at their Coalstoun Lakes property.

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Having avoided the full brunt of the summer storms, the family is currently in the process of harvesting their peanut crop and the product is looking promising.

Ben Rackemann said despite a dry end to the season, he is hoping for good prices with the market continuing to climb.

"I suppose it's been average to above average in terms of our growing season, but the quality is there," he said.

"I don't think we could have asked for a much better season.

"It's been a bit dry towards the end but the peanuts have done their work and now it's just a matter of harvesting them.

"The prices for them, I suppose they've never been better. They've been constantly going up for the last few years.

"If you can grow quality, then you will definitely get paid for it."

The peanuts must sit topside up for around a week to dry out, then they are separated from the plant during harvest.

While other areas in the region including Biggenden, Tansey and Dallarnil received 300 to 400 millimetres of flood-inducing rainfall, Mr Rackemann said they only saw around 100mm in the same event.

"In hindsight that was a blessing, considering the damage that happened just over the hill there," he said.

The Rackemann family began farming in the Coalstoun Lakes area in the 1950s, a district that is known for its highly fertile, red, volcanic soils.

"In our district, it's a traditional peanut area just like the South Burnett," Mr Rackemann said.

"Of the farmers who grow crops in this area, they all have peanuts in their rotation.

"Everything revolves around the peanuts I suppose, that's where we make our money and it's also of benefit to our grain crop.

"Peanuts being a legume, they put nitrogen back into the soil so they're a great companion for those grain crops that will go in the following year."

Mr Rackemann explained that they would need some decent falls to replenish the soil before planting a grain crop due to the lack of moisture.

"Peanuts take a lot out of the soil so we would need to see a good rain event but we'd like to capitalise on the current grain prices."

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Ben Rackemann is busy 'pulling' the peanuts, ready for harvest.

Before the peanuts are sent to Kingaroy to be shelled, they must be pulled and sit topside up for around a week to dry out, then they are separated from the plant during harvest.

The majority of the nuts will go to Bega and be used for the peanut butter on household breakfast tables, while a portion will return to the Rackemann's farm, and other peanut crops, being used as seed for next year's crop.

The Rackemanns also recently finished a successful sorghum harvest which saw a yield of around 6.5 tonne per hectare.

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Clare Adcock

Clare Adcock

Roma Journalist - Queensland Country Life

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