Darling Downs farmers watch as crops destroyed
DAVID Scott watched in horror as more than two months of hard work was destroyed in a matter of minutes.
The Cecil Plains cotton farmer was one of the many landholders affected by the Boxing Day hailstorm that ripped through the Toowoomba region, with crops worth tens of thousands of dollars "sandpapered" away in the wild weather.
This is the third consecutive summer Mr Scott and wife Pauline have witnessed the decimation of their crops, after hail hit in 2015 and a heatwave did the damage last year.
"I'd be surprised if we were to take any of that through to harvest," he said.
"(The cotton crop) was quite high and was looking quite good."
Hail the size of cricket balls also tore up the family house at Mywybilla, breaking several windows and pulling down sheds.
Mrs Scott said the family was surprised to see a storm of this severity so soon.
"It's known to be a hail area, but it should be one every seven years, not one every two," she said.
"It's just really disappointing not to be able to grow the crop through, especially when it goes so well.
"David was putting in 20-hour days last week just trying to get it all cultivated and all the weeds out, ahead of the rain that was going to come.
"We were hoping for rain, not hail.
"Hail and wind just strips the leaves."
The Scotts were not alone in experiencing damage, with several other properties in Cecil Plains losing crops overnight.
Power poles along Toowoomba-Cecil Plains Rd were also downed.
The destruction was made worse by the fact the Scotts had already sold a fair part of the crop that was wiped out.
Despite the situation, Mr Scott said he was thankful his family and friends were unharmed and happy.
"The thing I'd like to stress most of all is the way the neighbours have been helpful and looking after each other," he said.
"A big part of my faith in God is that I know He's watching over me and looking after me.
"There are more important things than out there.
"Your family is more important and they're all well and safe."
The crop was luckily insured for a significant sum, but Mrs Scott said that money wouldn't be available until mid-2018.
Nearly 40mm of rain fell on the Cecil Plains-Dalby area in the 24 hours to 9am today.