AN ONION, some ordinary table salt and a naked eye is all Hally needs to predict the future.

Well, that's the weather future at least; Halwyn Herrmann hasn't got his forecast wrong in the 60 years he has followed the German onion tradition.

Halwyn saw the 2011 floods coming, he knew this month's storms were on the way and he can see even more rain in the future.

"Hally's weather prediction" takes place at midnight on New Year's Eve every year and the results are checked at 4.30am on January 1.

"You peel the onion and cut it in half. Half falls to the left and the other half to the right. The left side is first and you take off six rings which are for January to June, then the other half goes from July to December," he said.

"Then you put your salt in the ring and leave it until 4.30 the next morning. It makes water from the salt and you just measure by eye - you guess how much is in there and the more water there is, the more rain for that month."

Hally said an ordinary brown or white onion would do but it needed to be a decent size and from a local farm.

"You need a local onion. I used to grow my own but now I don't. Now I get them from my mate near Rosewood.

"You need a reasonable size and you can't cut them if they're too small. You need a good knife to cut it and ordinary cooking salt," he said.

"Then you use your finger to stir it around and the next morning you just use your naked eye to have a look and read it."

78-year-old Halwyn Herrmann of Lowood predicts rainfall using onions.
78-year-old Halwyn Herrmann of Lowood predicts rainfall using onions. Lachlan McIvor

"Someone from the weather bureau saw me do it one year and he was absolutely astonished an old farmer could do this.

"I went to the cattle sale on January 30 and the auctioneer asked if there would be anymore rain for January.

"I said it could rain - there was one day left and on February 1 my mate called and said 'Hally, I had more than two inches (5.08cm) of rain at Mt Beppo, I had to ring and tell you'. "

Hally said he hoped to pass the tradition down to his six children, 23 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

"It's a thing this old fella used to do in Prenzlau and I was the only one interested so I was the only one who carried it on," he said.

"My main hobby now is I play a lot of cards. I'm 78 and on two walking sticks. I lost my wife, Doreen, to cancer two years ago.

"She was a lovely wife and I miss her but now I cook for myself and go to church every Sunday.

"I spent the best time I could with her."

Weather 'gadget' not far off in 60 years

THE only weather 'gadget' Halwyn Herrmann has to predict rainfall is an onion - and it's not far off.

Hally expects heavy rain next month and some rain in April and May, while the Bureau of Meteorology three month climate outlook expects there to be moderate Autumn rainfall across Australia, including Queensland.

Hally uses an onion and salt method to predict the month-to-month rainfall for the year ahead.

Prenzlau dairy farmer Jack Stunhke taught Hally the age-old tradition on New Years Eve in 1958.

"Our neighbour used to it at Prenzlau years ago but he was old and they had to sell up and he wanted someone to learn how to do it so he learnt me. I've been doing it ever since, for 60 years," he said.

"I was 17 when I learnt. I've done it every year.

"I don't know where he got it from but it's a German tradition and I'd say it would over 100 years old. I had to go up there on New Years Eve and stay there to midnight when he cut the onion. Then the next morning I had to walk across to read it."

He said in six decades, he was rarely wrong.

"The readings are pretty good, I can't be exactly accurate every time and I can't predict exactly where it's going to rain but it works for the local area," he said.

"I predicted the floods, I knew there would be a lot of rain and I saw the storms we had this month coming, that had been predicted.

"The more water in the shell, the more rain there will be."

Hally's 2018 onion cutting weather prediction

January - some good rain

February - rain

March - heavy rain

April - some rain

May - some rain

June - fairly dry

July - some rain

August - some rain

September - rain

October - heavy rain

November - rain

December - good rain


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