Flying foxes feast
Pests having a real impact on the region’s mango harvests
MUNDUBBERA’S mango harvest started this week with growers reporting a 20% drop in kensington pride production and more flying fox damage than in previous years.
The harvest will last for three to four weeks with top quality fruit heading for both domestic and export markets.
Fruit marked by hail and other weather conditions will be sold as seconds while lesser-quality mangoes will be juiced.
Golden Mile farm manager Henrik Petersen said the kensington pride crop was down right across the country, but less fruit hadn’t resulted in higher prices.
“The production drop is just a seasonal thing. Hopefully next year’s crop will be up again,” he said.
“Golden Mile’s kensington pride mangoes will supply the domestic market and be exported to China.
“Our honey gold crop will be picked a little later and sold domestically.”
MrPetersen said hewas expecting to harvest about 300 tonnes of fruit.
While Golden Mile mangoes haven’t attracted more than the usual number of flying foxes, both Ray Sorensen and Chris Allan are seeing more damage this year.
“The flying foxes are giving our fruit a bit of a touch up,” Mr Sorensen said.
Chris Allan and his son Tom, ofWeemillah, are going through picking the early ripening fruit in an effort to get a reprieve from flying fox damage.
“Where the trees get the morning sun, the mangoes ripen earlier than the rest and this attracts the flying foxes,” Mr Allan said.
“We’re picking these off first in the hope that they’ll leave the crop alone for a while. This means we’ll do three picks instead of the usual two.”
Using specially-designed picking machines, each operator manoeuvres into position using foot pedals, leaving their hands free to pick the fruit which is dropped into bag. When the bag is full it is emptied into a bin.
The bin is then taken to the packing shed where the fruit is sorted and packed.
Photos: Sue Harris
MANGOHARVEST: Rodney Free picksmangoesfor Chris andSueAllan in Mundubbera.
RUINED: Otherwise perfect fruit is rendered worthless by flying foxes.