Mur­cotts ex­ported for Moon Fes­ti­val

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Shirley Way

A GOOD ex­port mar­ket has been this year’s saviour for River­ton Citrus, de­spite work­ing with 3000 fewer trees.

Ja­son and Narelle Em­mer­ton grow im­pe­rial and mur­cott man­darins and lemons on three prop­er­ties out­side of Gayn­dah, and this year they are count­ing their bless­ings.

“(Our fruit was) good qual­ity this year; we don’t know what we’ve done right; some­one was look­ing down on us and gave us nice clean skin fruit,” Mrs Em­mer­ton said.

“We’ve had a bit of blackspot and stuff in the Mur­cotts, but pretty much kept it un­der con­trol with spray­ing.

“We were pretty lucky com­pared to oth­ers who had dis­ease in the im­pe­ri­als, whereas we hadn’t.”

While the im­pe­ri­als and lemons go to mar­kets in Bris­bane, Sydney and Mel­bourne, the mur­cott man­darins, with their good shelf-life, are ex­ported.

“We’ve had a good ex­port mar­ket and lemon prices have held re­ally well this sea­son,” she said.

Mur­cotts en­joyed strong de­mand in Thai­land, which takes 90% of pro­duc­tion, with the bal­ance go­ing to China and Hong Kong.

“For Thai­land, they like it there be­fore the Moon Fes­ti­val, which starts, I think, the sec­ond week in Au­gust.”

While Mr Em­mer­ton’s fa­ther pri­mar­ily ex­ported to Ja­pan and China, Mr and Mrs Em­mer­ton have been tran­si­tion­ing to Thai­land in re­sponse to re­quests from their agents.

They have enough fruit to meet the cur­rent de­mand, so there was no need to chase ex­tra mar­kets, she said.

Im­pe­rial and lemon pro­duc­tion was sim­i­lar to last year, but mur­cott pro­duc­tion, down 40%, was im­pacted by last year’s floods.

“A whole block, (that’s) 1500 trees, got to­tally washed away, and another 600-700 (trees) were un­re­pairable.”

As ex­porters, the Aussie dol­lar can be both friend and foe.

A strong Aus­tralian dol­lar – op­ti­mally about 70-80c US – en­cour­ages over­seas buy­ers, but had “sky­rock­eted the price of fer­tilis­ers and chem­i­cals”, Mrs Em­mer­ton said.

And as to lo­cal power and wa­ter costs, there was noth­ing they could do.

The cou­ple closed their own pack­ing shed 10 years ago, and now use pri­vate pack­ing sheds.


SWEET PICK­INGS: Ian Hin­dle works care­fully and quickly to pick the last of the Mur­cott man­darins at River­ton Citrus.

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