Crop di­ver­sity re­wards

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE - Adam McCleery adam.mccleery@cnbtimes.com.au

DI­VER­SI­FY­ING crops has a num­ber of added ben­e­fits for pro­duc­ers that in­clude not just the mar­ket ad­van­tages but also those that flow on to em­ploy­ees.

Benyenda Cit­rus owner and Gayn­dah pro­ducer Chris Ben­ham said be­ing able to use mul­ti­ple crops was a big ad­van­tage to her cit­rus busi­ness.

“We have our main crops of im­pe­rial and mur­cott man­darins but it’s bad to put all of your eggs into one bas­ket,” Mrs Ben­ham said.

“We have just about ev­ery­thing you can name here ... le­mons, grape­fruit, lime and or­anges, we have ev­ery­thing, so when some­thing isn’t do­ing re­ally well and the oth­ers come into pro­duc­tion we can al­ways di­ver­sify and go ahead.”

Mrs Ben­ham said an­other big ad­van­tage was be­ing able to keep their sea­sonal work­ers on.

“When the price drops out of some­thing we don’t want to see the back­pack­ers have to leave early and then bring a whole new crew in,” she said.

“So we go out and pick an­other va­ri­ety or do some prun­ing while we wait for the next va­ri­ety to come in.

“We try to ac­com­mo­date for our sea­sonal work­ers from the begin­ning right to the end of the sea­son.

“We have a close re­la­tion­ship with our work­ers. It’s about more than just the labour, they in­ject ex­tra cul­ture here.”

The Benyenda lemon crop is just about com­pletely picked for the sea­son, with more man­darins ready to har­vest.

“We still have a few le­mons left but we have ba­si­cally fin­ished up with them and now we have our low-seed mur­cotts and oth­ers to come in about a week or so,” Mrs Ben­ham said.

“Most peo­ple who are grow­ing low-seeded mur­cotts will be about ready soon, too.”

❝ When the price drops out of some­thing we don’t want to see the back­pack­ers have to leave early. — Chris Ben­ham

PHOTO: ADAM MCCLEERY

ALL SMILES: Back­packer Nils Richter is work­ing at Benyenda Cit­rus this sea­son and en­joys the va­ri­ety of work.

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