Talk fo­cus on navels

Central and North Burnett Times - - RURAL UPDATE -

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.

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