Ground cov­ered by fruit

Central and North Burnett Times - - RURAL UPDATE -

PAY­ING work­ers to pick tonnes of man­darins and drop them on the ground is a dis­heart­en­ing re­al­ity for some North Bur­nett or­chardists.

Ken Roth has a cou­ple of hun­dred tonne of man­darins with skin dam­age caused by hail and flood­ing. Un­less they are taken off the trees, there won’t be a crop next year.

Al­though the fruit still eats well, it’s un­saleable.

“We left them all sea­son hop­ing the price would come up enough to pick them,” Mr Roth said.

“But that hasn’t hap­pened. Some of the fruit we’ve sent away hasn’t cov­ered costs and the juice price is so low we can’t even pick for juice.”

Un­less re­moved, the weight of the fruit causes trees to stress and there will be no flow­ers to pro­duce a crop in 2014.

Prices nor­mally range from $8-$20 a car­ton, but dam­aged fruit rarely sells for more than $10.

While Mr Roth lost 1100 out of 6000 trees at his Reid’s Creek prop­erty, his con­fi­dence in the in­dus­try is high­lighted by his pur­chase of 4500 trees to plant on higher land.

“I hope we can work to­gether as an in­dus­try to get a bet­ter qual­ity and price in fu­ture,” he said.

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