The reality of drought met with an established pecan farm in the Burnett was the perfect recipe for farmers Jason and Jenny Smith to diversify from beef to nuts.

They never expected to venture into pecan farming but when they bought ‘Esmeralda’ at Malmoe, between Eidsvold and Mundubbera, they knew the popular nut was for them.

More than 200 acres of pecans was an unexpected addition.

The property ticked all the boxes including an artesian water source, bores and the capacity to house a centre pivot irrigator to cover 24 ha of improved and developed pasture and cropping.

Jason and Jenny used a Sustainability Loan from Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) in 2018 to purchase the equipment, with the capacity to apply 12 mm in a 24 hour period to the 360-degree circle.

Water security and mitigating the impacts of drought on their 270 ha property would ultimately become their biggest challenge and force them to work towards a solution to satisfy 22,000 very thirsty pecan trees and feed cattle.

Jason anticipates the investment has doubled their cattle production.

“It helped us enormously,” he said.

Burnett Regional Area Manager Cynthia Godden was able to meet Jason and Jenny on-farm to chat about their options.

“She came here, and we had a cup of tea and a talk. We showed her the figures and from there the wheels just kept on turning,” Jason said.

“It was a very simple process and uncomplicated. It was extremely pleasing, we were really happy.

“Our advice to other producers is, try QRIDA. They have been good to us and helped us a lot. We’ve had good experiences with QRIDA so I would tell anyone to go for it.”

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