APPLE season on the Granite Belt is in full swing and the fresh red and green fruit is ripe for the picking.
Making the most of this fruitful time of year is apple farmer Simon Favaro, of Aeroview Orchards at Applefthorpe.
Simon works on the family farm with father Rino and a staff that averages eight seasonal workers.
The lack of rain in October, November and December last year caused the small fruit and the heat stopped the trees from growing.
Simon said the success of the four months that made up apple picking season was very much dependent on the lead-up to the event.
"This season has been hot and dry with a lot of small fruit," he said.
"The lack of rain in October, November and December last year caused the small fruit and the heat stopped the trees from growing.
"The ideal situation would be no temperatures over 35 degrees and rain through those months.
"It doesn't need to be torrential like we have been having lately though.
"If we had have had rain like this in early December this season would have been completely different."
Simon said the picking season on the 50-acre property started with the royal gala and red delicious apples.
"The galas and red dels are
starting to split because they are getting too swollen from all the rain," he said.
"The Granny Smiths and the pink ladies are enjoying it though - we will start picking grannies in a month and then pink ladies in 5-6 weeks."
Simon explained the reasons for the differences between this season's royal galas and red delicious apples.
"The red dels are smaller this year because of the lack of rain and because they were badly hailed on December 15," he said.
"The galas are bigger because they are from under the hail netting and were subjected to less stress from the heat and wildlife."
However the latest challenge to hit Aeroview Orchards is the local flying fox population.
"The flying foxes have started eating the apples now - they moved in about a week ago," Simon said.
"Within two weeks they can take out half your crop and we can't sustain a loss like that.
"We put out flashing lights to try and scar them away but it doesn't do much."
Simon said when the weather or the wildlife was not causing havoc for the season, the third thing to watch for was the market.
"The market is very slow at the moment with roads flooded and areas unable to be reached," he said.
"We send to the Brisbane markets but, if they can't get the apples north or west or into northern New South Wales, then we get a backlog.
"Down south copped worse heat and drought than we did, so their apple quality is a lot less.
"That is the only up side I suppose."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.