Record year for citrus producers
Burnett shares in export spoils:
THE wider Burnett had a record-breaking citrus export season in 2016 thanks to growing demand in foreign markets such as Asia and North America – and producers hope to repeat that result this year.
Roth Citrus owners and operators Ken and Megan Roth have had to rely heavily on the export market in their long-term recovery from the 2013 floods and have also started a new line of mandarin.
“It was a fantastic year for export last year. Prices were good. We haven’t seen them that high for honey Murcott before,” Mrs Roth said.
“We have just sent 16 pallets to Thailand of a brand new mandarin – a PBR variety, plant breeder’s rights, which means it’s our own variety – and we grow them all to export.
“It was a fantastic year for export last year. Prices for honey Murcotts were the best we have seen them,” Mrs Roth said.
The new mandarin is from the Nova family and has already provided a host of benefits for the Roths.
“They are very firm so they will travel to foreign markets well and they come up with a nice, bright orange colour so they are good for the Asian market too,” Mrs Roth said.
“They are ready so much earlier than other varieties. No one else is growing them because we have a licensed product.”
The Roths are still working on a plan for royalties if other growers choose to start growing this new line.
“We had 20 growers out here for an open day about it,” Mrs Roth said.
“I think it’s pretty exciting, really. There are actually very few Egyptian mandarins on the world market at the moment and nothing this early.”
Mr Roth said export was the linchpin when it came to getting Roths Citrus back on its feet after the 2013 floods.
“I did it because the domestic prices were terrible for mandarins. Imperials were the worst prices we’ve ever seen,” Mr Roth said.
“More and more countries in Asia are starting to take our fruit, places like the Philippines and India.
“You have to have the ones that will carry the distance.”
Mr Roth said Murcott mandarins were good for exporting.
“Low-seeded Murcott and normal Murcott,” Mr Roth said.
“Any of the firmer mandarins. We export Novas, which we will have a lot of in a moment. They like the easy-peel overseas.”
The latest trade data from Citrus Australia showed Queensland growers shipped $67 million worth of fruit to overseas consumers, a 30% increase on exports from the previous season.
❝ I (grew for export) because the domestic prices were terrible for mandarins. Imperials were the worst prices we’ve ever seen.
— Ken Roth
STRONG MARKET: The strength of the 2016 export season has helped Ken Roth from Roth Citrus recover.