Talk focus on navels
BIOSECURITY, growing navels, the juice industry and fruit fly are hot topics on the agenda for this year’s Citrus Australia National Conference, in Leeton, New South Wales, from October 21 to 24.
Citrus Australia chair Tania Chapman is urging growers and industry members not to miss this year’s conference and to register now.
“Not only is there the usual networking opportunities – where we make contacts with old friends and forge new friendships – but the line-up of speakers is such that, as growers, we cannot afford to ignore their messages,” Ms Chapman said.
Growers and industry stakeholders will hear local and international experts, including Mike Irey, a Florida expert on citrus greening (Huanglongbing) discuss and debate industry issues.
The conference will also hear whether it is crunch time for navels.
Citrus Australia’s marketing team will examine the consumer shift from navels to mandarins and easy peelers.
According to manager of market information and quality for Citrus Australia Nathan Hancock, the hard fact is navels are in trouble and this has clearly been seen this season in the domestic and export markets.
But Mr Hancock said there are options for changing to more popular varieties.
A panel of packers and growers from each region will offer their opinions and advice.
“Growers are aware of the difficulties in selling navels and how the exchange rate and tough competition on the export market, especially from late Californian fruit, is causing many to sell at unsustainable prices,” Mr Hancock said.
“Late-season Californian fruit will continue to be a headache for our market and remain on the US retail shelves for longer.”
This conference session will examine alternate market windows for navels and inform and analyse the situation.
“We want growers to go away armed with the tools to decide how much of a market share still exists for oranges both domestically and globally,” Mr Hancock said.
Other items of importance on the agenda include Citrus Australia’s annual general meeting (members only), followed by Horticulture Australia Limited’s Annual Levy Payers meeting, which is open to all.
An afternoon field trip to two local properties will highlight stateof-the art orchard practices, key biosecurity systems relating to fruit fly control and the value of using clean budwood.